A new COVID-19 transitional care unit with 120 beds opens this week at Greystone Village Retirement Home. (Photo courtesy of Bruyère and Greystone Village)

Patients in Ottawa who are ready to leave the hospital but not yet ready to return to their homes will have a new place to stay while they recover.

Bruyère has announced a new temporary 120-bed short-stay transitional care unit at Greystone Village retirement home on Scholastic Drive. The unit will be overseen by Bruyère and managed by Integrated Care Solutions, a division of Bayshore HealthCare.

Starting this week, patients from acute care hospitals such as The Ottawa Hospital, Queensway Carleton Hospital, and Hôpital Montfort will be admitted to the new transitional care unit at Greystone Village. These will be individuals who no longer need the acute care that hospitals provide but are in need of specialized care before returning home or to long-term care.

"These 120 beds will help alleviate some of the pressure on the health care system and on our acute care partners, while helping people access the care they need at a crucial time in their journey," said Guy Chartrand, President and CEO of Bruyère.

Patients with COVID-19 will not be admitted to the new transitional care unit at Greystone. Patients will need to test negative for COVID-19 before leaving acute care in order to be admitted. When they are admitted to Greystone, patients will be put on contact and droplet precautions for 14 days to ensure they don’t develop any COVID-19 related symptoms.

The Greystone Village retirement home delayed its opening in April because of the pandemic, creating an opportunity for this unit to be created.

"Our goal with Greystone Village Retirement was always to help community members maintain their independence," says Jennifer Martel, Co-Owner and General Manager of Greystone Village Retirement Home in a press release. "We are pleased that our facility will be able to provide some comfort to those who need a safe path back to the community."

Chartrand says health-care partners had been looking for ways to add much-needed capacity in the Ottawa region when this opportunity presented itself.

"Lo and behold, through the partnership with the regional table, the Greystone Retirement Home came to me," he said in an interview with CTV News.

Staff from Bruyère checked out the home to see if it could be turned into, effectively, a hospital.

Chartrand says they will be bringing patients in gradually to start.

"We will be accepting our first patient this week. Likely, we'll be able to admit about seven patients and then we'll ramp it up to 12 patients the following week, then up to 20, and then 28 until we hit 120 patients in about three to four weeks from now," he said.

Ottawa Public Health says there are 54 people in hospital with COVID-19 complications as of Nov. 3, with four in the ICU.

Chartrand adds that collaboration of health-care partners has enabled Bruyère to accomplish something remarkable.

"By creating a very strong relationship with a multitude of partners and the leadership of Bruyère, we will be able to say that we've opened a medium-sized hospital in three months."