The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to force managers in healthcare facilities nationwide to plan for additional space to accommodate the growing numbers of patients. While some existing healthcare facilities can be upgraded to accommodate the rising tide of patients, the approximately 920,000 staffed hospital beds in the United States cannot accommodate the estimated millions of patients who will require medical care.
As a result, it is vital that managers seek and implement ways to increase patient capacity across the country by making additional spaces for patients. The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) is compiling guidance to help managers create those spaces.
ASHE defines an alternate care site (ACS) as any building or structure not currently being used for healthcare that is temporarily converted or constructed for health care use during an urgent need in capacity to provide additional capability for an affected community, outside the walls of a healthcare facility.
An ACS includes spaces such as, but not limited to: hotels, arenas, barracks and dorms, tents, closed hospitals, and modular units. ACS does not include the conversion of non-patient care space within the walls of a current hospital converted for use during a surge event, nor does it include equipment stored and ready for deployment in a site outside of the walls of a current hospital.
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