Hotels doing their part for COVID-19

The RMIT-Cisco Health Transformation Lab is partnering with MediStays to launch a critical new self-isolation accommodation service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative will connect patients, families and health workers who need to self-isolate, providing them with dedicated and discounted self-isolation accommodation close to hospitals around the country.

The accommodation service includes ensuring hotel rooms have wifi for patients requiring telehealth appointments, the delivery of meals and groceries, and coordination of care workers and nurses.

This will ease the burden on hospitals, and support individuals to isolate ‘well’, all the while making use of unoccupied hotel rooms and supporting the tourism industry.

empty hotel

MediStays already works with hospitals and not-for-profit patient lodgings, as well as hotels with occupancy rates of less than 20 per cent, to provide discounted accommodation near hospitals for three critical groups:

  • patients who are immunocompromised and need accommodation as they elect to self-isolate to protect themselves from COVID19
  • those with confirmed or suspected COVID19, who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, and can be accommodated in a hotel or apartment and supported by care and health workers from community nurse partner Bolton Clarke
  • healthcare workers who are at higher risk than the general population and who are now electing to stay closer to the hospital to either avoid putting their families at risk or to ensure quality rest as they experience longer hours and on-call duties.

“At a time of unprecedented strain on the traditional parts of our health system, we need to quickly and flexibly release new capacity into and around our hospitals and care institutions,” said Health Transformation Lab director Professor Vishaal Kishore.

“MediStays is a proven model and this new partnered initiative enables them to bring on capacity really quickly to help support people in a time of crisis.

“At the same time, it alleviates potentially unprecedented demand on hospitals, while utilising latent hotel rooms to support the industry, which is experiencing record low occupancy rates.”

MediStays hopes this arrangement helps to relieve the strain on the health system and its workers.

“Our overarching aim, really, is to safely accommodate people outside of hospitals and take pressure off the health system,” said MediStays co-founder Associate Professor Sarah Everitt.

“MediStays is already a well-known and valuable resource for hospital staff and not-for-profit organisations who have been coming to us for several years now to coordinate trusted and discounted accommodation for patients, their carers and families.

“By teaming with the Health Transformation Lab, we can rapidly scale up this coordinated accommodation service in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and are working closely with our accommodation partners to identify safe hospital alternatives for guests with and without a suspected or positive COVID-19 diagnosis.”

The hotel industry has been overwhelmingly supportive of the new self-isolation service.

“Having launched our new website two weeks ago, we had just under 100 property partners on MediStays at the beginning of last week. In the past week alone, we have been contacted by a further 250 properties wanting to offer their rooms and, in some cases, entire hotels, to people impacted by COVID-19, whether they be patients, vulnerable people who are self-isolating or health workers who need to rest but remain close to their place of work,” said Assoc. Prof. Everitt.

For more information and interviews, please contact Rachel Wells at the Health Transformation Lab on: 0402 354 321 or email: [email protected]

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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