PATIENTS waiting to leave hospital can do so in improved facilities after the opening of a new lounge.
A new £2 million Discharge Lounge has opened at Dorset County Hospital (DCH) after funding was secured from NHS England as part of plans to expand discharge facilities and ambulance hubs across the country.
Discharge lounges are dedicated areas for patients who are waiting for their medication or transport once they are medically fit to leave hospital.
The funding was used to install a single-storey modular building in front of North Wing Entrance 2 that was pre-made and assembled on site.
Known as the Portesham Unit, the new building provides a much larger, purpose-built space for patients to stay while they wait to be discharged, freeing up inpatient beds in the meantime for patients who need to be admitted.
It also includes additional, flexible clinical space with side rooms and bed bays to be used by other hospital services.
Open from 8am until 8pm, the Discharge Lounge has comfortable seating, recliner chairs, beds and refreshment facilities.
The lounge team can carry out final tests and tasks, plus help link families up with local voluntary support for patients as they return home.
Anita Thomas, chief operating officer at DCH, said: “We are delighted to be using our new Discharge Lounge. This larger space allows us to accommodate more patients who are medically fit to leave hospital, which in turn frees up beds on our wards for those who need to be admitted.
“The new Discharge Lounge will support patients on their road to recovery by providing them with a comfortable and relaxing environment away from the wards while they wait to be collected by relatives, carers or transport services.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in this project to create a brand-new facility for the benefit of our patients. We worked to a tight timeframe and teams pulled out all the stops to make this a success.”
Landscaping and road surfacing works are still being carried out around the outside of the new building, which will include dedicated parking bays for those collecting a patient.
In the meantime, patients, staff and visitors can access the new building via North Wing Entrance 1 and anyone collecting a patient should park in the drop-off area in between North Wing Entrance 1 and South Wing Entrance 1.
Temporary parking bays have been assigned for those collecting patients waiting to be discharged.