New Royal Free Hospital discharge lounge opens

24 July 2023

The discharge lounge at the Royal Free Hospital has opened today, following an extensive refurbishment.

The newly upgraded lounge has TVs, magazines, newspapers, a hot food service and a self-serve refreshment station giving it the feel of stepping into an “Upper Class” airport lounge.

Additional chairs will allow for up to 24 people to use the space at any one time and there is now provision to support patients who are unable to sit for prolonged periods of time.

Located on the ground floor near the front of the hospital, the new lounge will improve patient flow by allowing more medically fit patients to be transferred from the ward while they wait to be discharged.

Patients will be able to relax in a modern, welcoming environment, that has been co-designed with their input to meet their needs while they wait to leave the hospital. All patients leaving hospital no longer need to wait on the ward for transport, medication, or paperwork, they can now come to the new lounge and wait in comfort allowing their vacated ward bed to be made ready for a new patient coming into the hospital.

The trust is now using a new model of care for the discharge lounge, which has increased use of the lounge - currently in a temporary location - by 91%. A total of 23 additional patients per day are being transferred there compared with the previous model and this larger space will enable even more patients to use it.

The Royal Free Hospital director of nursing Rebecca Longmate said: “The goal is for the discharge lounge to make patients feel that are no longer in a clinical space, that they have progressed in their recovery, giving them a positive mindset as they leave. It also helps us to provide more capacity, earlier in the day for new patients coming in.

“We are really pleased that use of the discharge lounge has increased so much – it is a really important space for us to facilitate flow through the hospital and decrease waiting times for patients arriving in the emergency department and waiting for elective surgery.”