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Waikato Hospital's New Medihotel Welcomes First Patient

Media Release

Date: 15 January

Waikato Hospital's New Medihotel Welcomes First Patient

Waikato Hospital’s new Medihotel has opened its doors to the first post-procedural patient needing clinically supported accommodation the night before discharge.

After suffering a stroke in early December, 84-year-old Rex Tollemache has spent a month undergoing stroke rehabilitation in Ward 55. Now ready to leave hospital, he is experiencing some temporary housing difficulty and needed a home for the night.

“For many years I have lived 20km out of Huntly, but I’m finally selling my home. The house that I was going to move into is not quite ready, so I was left in the lurch with nowhere to go,” he said.

“The Medihotel service has suited my needs perfectly; I have a place to stay before getting my final blood test tomorrow. It has saved me finding somewhere else during this brief transition period,” he said.

The Medihotel, in Waikato Hospital's Hilda Ross House, is a six-month pilot project providing accommodation and hotel services for patients accessing elective/arranged health care or who are stable but require an overnight stay for a final medical check prior to or following discharge.

During the pilot, the Medihotel will provide accommodation for up to 10 patients although there is capacity for 24 beds. There is a mix of single and two-bedded rooms, a communal lounge area with TV, and a small kitchen and dining area with tables and chairs.

Rex speaks highly of the Medihotel’s facilities, affirming the space as “the perfect transition place to prepare me for moving out of hospital.”

“For awhile now I have had meals prepared and delivered. Tomorrow morning I will use the kitchen facilities to organise my own breakfast like I would at home. I can also wander around enjoying a little more space and freedom than what a ward can realistically provide,” he said.

Medihotel coordinator Julie-Anne Burgess will be responsible for the day to day management, the staff and ensuring all the referrals have been assessed and patients meet the criteria to stay in the Medihotel.

“I’m very excited to welcome our first patient. It is something special to be a part of something new; something that I have high hopes will fly in the long run,” she said.

“Bring on the six new patients arriving today (Tuesday 15 January)– we will do all we can to make their experiences really good. Sometimes a stay in hospital is not easy, so we are committed to leaving them with a good final impression.”

The Medihotel pilot is based on a concept that is now an established component of the care process in a number of large Australian hospitals. Royal Melbourne, Austin, St Vincent's and Alfred hospitals have used this approach to increase capacity, maximise day-of-surgery-admissions and day surgery rates, and reduce length of stay.

Julie-Anne would like to offer her thanks to ward 55 and the medical team of Michael Kaplan and the social workers who helped bring Rex in.

For more information on the Medihotel service, visit


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