This abundance of empty hotel rooms in almost every major city represents a potential solution to the problem of too few hospital beds.
As the hospitality and healthcare industries come together to collaborate and turn vacant hotels into alternate healthcare-related facilities during the crisis, The American Hotel and Lodging Association, American Society for Healthcare Engineering, and Oliver Wyman have outlined how to transform a hotel for both non-clinical and clinical purposes.
Non-clinical operation means housing COVID-19 crisis responders. Here minimal transformation is required to expand to healthcare workers who need to stay isolated from their families and FEMA workers who are temporarily situated to aid with crisis response. Meanwhile, a more complex use is as alternative care sites where both isolation and non-isolation may be required. Non-isolation facilities are for those patients who require medical oversight but not immediate proximity to a hospital. Isolation facilities are for those patients who require medical oversight and have a highly infectious disease such as a COVID-19 patient. While the requirements to temporarily transform a hotel differs in each alternate care scenario, both require significant physical conversion and adjustments to operations.
On the backside of the crisis, there are also steps needed to return to business as usual for these hotels. Considerations include things like cleaning and conversion steps to return the hotel to normal operating conditions, such as replacing linens, reconfiguring common spaces or sleeping room, and returning on loan equipment like medical monitors. Employee and guest communications are critical to help to establish trust and comfort in the preparations and signal a return to normal business.