Hospitals so packed the hunt is on for alternative beds – updated

3 minute read

One Queensland hospital service is on the hunt for external beds to ease bed block and get patient flow on the move again.

Hospitals on the Gold Coast are running so close to capacity so often that Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service is looking for alternative accommodation for patients.

The HHS has launched an EOI calling for “innovative solutions” offering interim care beds for patients transferring out of hospital to reduce the burden on its facilities, currently operating at full or close to full capacity.

The EOI, issued on 5 July, is aimed at overcoming bed block across Gold Coast University Hospital and Robina Hospital by establishing additional overnight beds for patients affected by various delays preventing them from accessing temporary or permanent accommodation in the community.

“The objective of this Expression of Interest (EOI) is to address the financial, logistical and geographical difficulties of patients that can be cared for in overnight beds outside the acute hospital setting, including those requiring residential placement,” the tender document read.

“The provision of these beds as an out of hospital option enables GCHHS to provide care in the right environment for this group of patients.

“There is a significant amount of evidence that supports the provision of care for people in a home-like environment to prevent hospital acquired complications such as deconditioning and delirium.”

Included are those awaiting beds in residential aged care facilities, either for permanent or temporary placement, disabled patients who needed access to NDIS support or changes to their plans to receive suitable accommodation, as well as those not suited for other out-of-hospital care programs like Hospital in the Home, for instance wound care or ostomy patients.

Other patients included those requiring support from a guardian appointed by the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) and/or Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal (QCAT), those with “complex psychosocial care needs” unable to receive support from community care services and patients whose carers require treatment via hospital admission for their own health concerns.

Respondents are required to provide a “detailed description” of their proposal including infrastructure, workforce and accreditation requirements, methods for managing patient flow and addressing changing clinical needs such as medical emergencies and a “realistic” timeframe for implementation, according to the tender document.

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Respondents are also required to hold several insurance policies including workers compensation insurance, public liability insurance and product liability insurance at a minimum of $20 million per claim and professional indemnity insurance for a minimum of $10 million.

Submissions to the tender will close on 2 August.

HSD reached out to GCHHS seeking answers to questions about ramping levels at Gold Coast hospitals, age limits for patients being placed in aged care beds, whether private hospital beds were being sought, and what funding arrangements would be in place for the “interim” beds.

A spokesperson for GCHHS told HSD the organisation was still “in the early stages of exploring various options” for the out-of-hospital beds, with clinical teams at Gold Coast University Hospital and Robina Hospital were “continuously monitoring” activity and demand for services “to optimise patient access and flow”.

“Gold Coast Health is committed to exploring new and innovative models of care as demand for health services increases in the community,” the spokesperson said.

“There are circumstances where delays in accessing permanent or temporary accommodation exists for patients transitioning from hospital to external living arrangements, including aged care.

“An Expression of Interest (EOI) is currently seeking innovative solutions to address these demands and complement our well-established strategies to enhance patient flow.”

Updated at 3:35 pm to include a response from Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service.

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