Mass Gen opens 'discharge lounge' to address capacity challenges

Massachusetts General Hospital has opened a "discharge lounge" — a new way the Boston-based hospital is alleviating capacity challenges. 

The lounge is a designated space in the hospital's lobby for patients waiting to be transported home and enables the hospital to open up beds for new admissions sooner than they would be able to otherwise. The initiative ran as a pilot program during the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Now, it serves nearly 125 patients per month. 

Patients typically spend one hour after discharge occupying a bed while waiting to be picked up. Now, that time can be spent in the lounge, where they'll be given free meal vouchers and are offered support if they need transportation services. 

"When we think about addressing capacity challenges, small interventions like the Discharge Lounge add up to have a large impact," Tina Stone, MSN, RN, associate chief nurse with MGH's Capacity Coordination Center, said in a May 15 news release. "Thanks to these initiatives, we have the opportunity to discharge patients sooner when appropriate, which leads to less backup in the Emergency Department." 

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