Nursing homes taking some strain off hospitals

Hospitals that are struggling to have enough room for all patients during the COVID-19 pandemic are getting some relief from long-term care facilities in Federal Way, Lakewood, Des Moines, and five other Washington cities.

The facilties are making space available for non-COVID patients under contracts with the Department of Social and Health Services. By working with 10 nursing homes and providing staffing resources to establish dedicated units for the patients, more than 240 hospital beds will be freed up statewide, according to DSHS.

In the state-funded arrangement that is scheduled to continue until June 30, the patients will be discharged  from the facilities when their treatment is complete or stay longer if they need long-term care.

The first unit, at Kin On Rehabilitation and Care Center in Seattle, opened in mid-February.

Other participating facilities include Avalon Federal Way Care Center, Stafford Healthcare in Des Moines, and The Oaks at Lakewood. The other locations are scattered throughout the state in Bellingham, Olympia, Vancouver, Spokane, and Pasco.

DSHS officials noted the goal is to ease the strain on hospitals from COVID-19 cases and give them more capacity for patients,

Governor Jay Inslee said Feb. 11 that even though COVID cases are “rapidly declining, our hospitalization rate remains high. Our hospital staffs do incredible work, but many are understandably burned out.”