New 16-bed COVID-19 unit will treat nursing home patients in Talladega Co.

New 16-bed COVID-19 unit will treat nursing home patients in Talladega Co.

TALLADEGA, Ala. (WBRC) - The University of Alabama at Birmingham and Rehab Select at Talladega will open a special 16-bed unit to treat patients from nursing home facilities who have COVID-19.

The unit will be housed in a separate building on the campus of Rehab Select at Talladega.

The unit is funded from the state of Alabama’s Coronavirus Relief Fund.

The plan is to isolate people who live in a nursing home who test positive and are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, while providing the nursing care those patients require.

The unit can also accept COVID-19-positive patients from hospitals across the state for ongoing short-term rehabilitation.

“The unit will continue our mission to provide evidence-based care for these vulnerable patients across the care continuum,” said Kellie Flood, M.D., associate professor in the UAB Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care. “Our goal is to provide them with the same care elements they receive regularly in their skilled nursing environments, such as rehabilitation, during these unprecedented times. We are also partnering with our infectious disease, infection prevention and PPE experts to provide this unit’s team with best practices for COVID-19 management and processes to keep team members safe.”

The facility has a separate building that will be used for the unit, with a separate entrance and ventilation system. Nursing staff for the unit will be coordinated and trained by UAB.

“Nursing home residents have special needs, and for those with mild illness from the virus, an acute care hospital is not necessarily the right environment,” said Christopher Schmidt, president/CEO of Rehab Select at Talladega. “This program will blend the hospital and skilled nursing environments to make sure all their needs are met.”

The unit will also ease pressure on hospitals by freeing up beds for acutely sick patients with COVID-19 or non-COVID illness.

The unit will begin accepting patients Oct. 5. This will be UAB’s second unit that is designed to serve the region. UAB partnered with Aspire Physical Recovery Center in Hoover to open a similar unit in July.

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