Inside look at new facility to treat nursing home patients with COVID-19

Coronavirus

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — There will soon be a new treatment center for Jefferson County nursing home patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, leaders announced Wednesday.

Aspire Physical Recovery Center in Hoover will be used to house up to 25 patients at the facility.

“The physical design of the building is laid out as such that you have completely separate entrance for this facility, you also have a separate ventilation and air handling system and nursing station,” said Nick Beckham, regional director for Aspire’s parent company, NHS.

Since many nursing home residents require special care, UAB doctors hope the Aspire wing will serve those who do not require immediate hospitalization but are still contagious and not ready to return to their facility.

“Either they started in the hospital and are now ready to transition to receive rehabilitation or perhaps their symptoms never required hospital care, but they do require a place where they can be cohort-ed and isolated and receive care at this designated unit,” said Dr. Kellie Flood with UAB.

The Aspire wing also aims to free up staff members at other smaller nursing homes where patients with coronavirus cases may not be as easily isolated.

“What this will allow them to do is if you have these buildings that have maybe one or two cases, it would be more appropriate for them to get them out of that one facility and into an already established safe COVID positive unit versus trying to maintain one or two residents in house that could number 1, tie up staff and resources and obviously continue the risk of spread in a vulnerable population,” said Beckham.

“What is taking place in Jefferson County is probably very unique. I haven’t seen anything similar to this in any of the other states across the country. So this may be the first of its type, said John Matson with the AL Nursing Home Association.

When and if the pandemic ends, the wing will be converted back to rehabilitating patients. For now, Beckham believes the Aspire facility will also help allow for additional bed space at hospitals.

“This unit allows us to decant our hospital beds so the most critical are able to be seen in the most critical are able to be seen in the appropriate places and the least critical are able to be seen in the more appropriate setting like the skilled nursing,” said Beckham.

Aspire will see it’s first patient on Monday. The process will run off referrals.

According to officials, $1.9 million in funds from the CARES Act was used by the Jefferson County Commission to help fund the project.


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