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10 discharge lounges for QEH

Lisa King

10 discharge lounges for QEH

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Ten discharge lounges have been set up at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in an effort to reduce the length of time it takes for beds to become available on the wards.
As the QEH launched the lounges yesterday, chief executive officer Dexter James said that for the past 12 to 18 months the hospital had been grappling with the issue of managing its beds.
James said that patients discharged usually remained in the bed until they were collected by a friend or relative because there was nowhere else to put them. The discharge lounges, he said, would also allow patients waiting in the Accident and Emergency Department to have access to a bed.
In addition, the lounges would bring significant economic benefits to the QEH. According to James, audited figures showed that about $1 269 was spent per patient day.
“This means that every day we have a patient in our bed longer than is expected, it costs the Government and taxpayers that amount,” he said.
The ten lounges, located across the various wards, will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
James appealed to the public to exercise social responsibility and ensure relatives were collected before the lounges closed on evenings.  
“There is no legal requirement or authority for readmitting the patients nor are we running a hotel service at the QEH . . . We don’t mind accommodating these patients for a short period of time but certainly, we are asking that once the patient are discharged, collect [them] on or before 5 p.m.,” James said.
The lounges were made possible thanks to a donation of $55 000 from the Anglican Diocesan. Bishop John Holder said that upon hearing the need for a secure place where patients could rest for a while after they were discharged, and before they were picked up by relatives or friends, the decision was taken to make a contribution.