‘ Hospi­tal-in-ho­tel’ for post­na­tal care

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health -

From Health cover

If no med­i­cal prob­lems arise, women can choose to spend the last two nights of that stay in the Sof­i­tel, where about half a dozen rooms have been fit­ted with an ex­tra sink and a cor­ner room has been con­verted into a mid­wives’ sta­tion and of­fice.

Women who take up the of­fer are whisked from the hospi­tal to the ho­tel, about a 10-minute drive away, in the ho­tel’s BMW 7-se­ries limou­sine. While at the ho­tel they re­ceive the same coach­ing from mid­wives in set­tling and breast­feed­ing their baby as they would at the hospi­tal.

While the room-ser­vice meals are in­cluded in the costs that are picked up by the health fund, the var­i­ous other lux­ury ser­vices of­fered by five-star ho­tels, in­clud­ing movies, mas­sages, shoe shin­ing and laun­dry, are ex­tra, and must be paid sep­a­rately by the mother on check­ing out.

We started it be­cause there was so much de­mand to have a baby at Frances Perry — we couldn’t fit all the mums in,’’ Mr Page said.

‘‘ By do­ing this, it gives us ex­tra beds so we can take more moth­ers in, with­out de­creas­ing their length of stay.’’

In the three years of the scheme, 25 per cent of women giv­ing birth at the hospi­tal had taken up the ho­tel op­tion, Mr Page said. Over the same pe­riod, three moth­ers had re­quired trans­fer back to the hospi­tal for some med­i­cal rea­son, he said. Re­turns to hospi­tal prompted by the need to man­age a med­i­cal is­sue in a baby — such as jaun­dice, a rel­a­tively com­mon post­na­tal is­sue — was a bit more com­mon, ne­ces­si­tat­ing the re­turn of 10 to 20 ba­bies out of the 3000 births, he said. But none of th­ese cases re­sulted in an ad­verse out­come.

Michael Roff, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Aus­tralian Private Hos­pi­tals As­so­ci­a­tion, said at least two other private hos­pi­tals — the Ep­worth Freema­sons in Melbourne and Ash­ford Private Hospi­tal in Ade­laide — had in­tro­duced sim­i­lar ‘‘ hospi­tal in the ho­tel’’ schemes.

‘‘ The hos­pi­tals are happy with it and the pa­tients are happy with it — and the health fund is happy be­cause it ends up cost­ing them less,’’ Mr Roff said. ‘‘ It’s part of some­thing that we will con­tinue to see grow, for pa­tients who aren’t quite ready to go home and per­haps need some mon­i­tor­ing, but don’t need all the re­sources of an acute hospi­tal bed.’’

Mr Page said the ser­vice was not a moneysav­ing op­tion, claim­ing that the costs were sim­i­lar, and its ad­van­tage lay in al­low­ing ex­tra ca­pac­ity that could be ac­cessed only when it was needed.

In the fu­ture, it was pos­si­ble it might be ex­panded to other types of pa­tients, such as gy­nae­co­log­i­cal surgery, and oth­ers that were at low risk for post-oper­a­tive com­pli­ca­tions.

‘‘ There would be other sur­gi­cal spe­cial­ties where it could well ap­ply for the back end of your stay in hospi­tal,’’ Mr Page said. ‘‘ We are look­ing at that.

‘‘ My per­sonal opin­ion is that it works for a hospi­tal where you have high de­mand for your beds — I don’t know that it would work for a hospi­tal that’s half-full,’’ he said.

Pic­ture: Michael Pot­ter

A new idea is born: Zelinda Hoyle with her four-day-old daugh­ter Coco at the Sof­i­tel Ho­tel

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