Again, this idea is submitted for wiki commentary and revision:
Having read Canada Sue’s blog, I personally think that what hospitals should do during a pandemic outbreak is to seize use of the nearest hotel as their ‘fever center’, set up an intake center in one of the conference rooms or lobby, and redirect anyone with flu-like symptoms to that center. Most of the flu patients will be ‘floor’ patients anyway, requiring perhaps O2 by NC or CPAP only for respiratory support. Those requiring more can be sent to the ICU in the regular hospital, but once the vents are full, all you have to offer is ‘floor’ level care available anyway, so you might as well just use the hotel. A hotel would certainly be an easier, more hospital-like environment, requiring less retrofit, than trying to run a hospital out of a high school gym. Hotels have beds, power outlets, bathrooms in each room, and phones (though this may pose fomite issues). The psychological benefit of being in a hotel as opposed to a gymnasium is hard to quantify but I believe would be significant. I also think infection control (especially for secondary infections) would be easier in the partitioned environment of a hotel.
With a hotel you can also set aside one floor for caregivers to stay in, if need be, and one or more rooms per floor can be used as nursing stations—perhaps a dual room with half for supplies and records and half for charting etc.
Using this approach would allow the usual hospital to continue with at least some hope of approaching ‘business as usual’, except with shortages of staff and eventually supplies.
An article on plans for such use in Tasmania can be found at this news site (don’t know when the link will expire)