A look inside Hotel Hesperia, converted into emergency hospital in four days

Around 50 patients suffering from covid-19 coronavirus being looked after at the facility

A doctor in a room of the Hotel Hesperia, converted into an emergency hospital assisting covid-19 coronavirus patients (by Laura Fíguls)
A doctor in a room of the Hotel Hesperia, converted into an emergency hospital assisting covid-19 coronavirus patients (by Laura Fíguls) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

April 3, 2020 12:26 PM

Hotel Hesperia, located in Sant Joan Despí, has been transformed into an emergency hospital to help people suffering from the covid-19 coronavirus. 

The conversion of the facility was carried out in just four days. "We have transformed a hotel into a health environment in record time; in four days, literally four days", Lali Ruiz recalls, a family doctor working at the 'health hotel'. 

Dr. Ruiz emphasizes that they have "stripped" rooms prepared for tourists or guests, packed and stored material away so that it does not get dirty, and has replaced it all with sanitary and healthcare equipment

"We have turned the hotel into a hospital, or a healthcare setting," she explains. Healthcare professionals at the facility are looking after around 50 covid-19 patients on three floors of the hotel, while they are prepared to open seven of the hotel's eight floors if needed.

Dr. Ruiz is happy with the amenities each room offers, with the hallway tables outside rooms allowing healthcare workers to drop off meals, notify the patient by knocking on their door, and leave the area without the coronavirus patient needing to come into contact with the doctor. This method allows for minimal risk, and for professionals to not have to use personal protective equipment as much as possible.

The food is prepared at the Moisès Broggi Hospital, located right by the hotel and the logistical reference point for this hotel being chosen as one to transform into an emergency hospital. The hotel also boasts amenities for cleaning sheets, clothes, and towels too. 

It is a team effort that the manager is very proud of. "It has been a trial-and-error job where everyone has done their bit.”

Ten new patients per day

Every day, ten or more new patients are admitted to the emergency hospital, and the opening of the fourth floor is imminent. The team started with a doctor, nurse, an assistant and administrative staff, and are expanding it as they enable more floors.

The people who attend this hotel are patients with covid-19 respiratory infections who are referred from hospitals or primary care and cannot complete their quarantine at home for a variety of reasons, such as having no home in the condition, or because they live with the elderly, immunosuppressed or others in a vulnerable state of health. 

Many of the arriving patients are "very distressed," says Ruiz, even if they are on the final stretch of covid-19 disease. "They spend many days without seeing family," she says.

The administrator first welcomes patients and gives them a set of rules, and the nurses and assistants give them more information on the operation and how it will be monitored. "Patients also find it difficult to understand what kind of resource they are in," the head of the facility explains.

After entering the rooms, the team of healthcare professionals monitor and provide treatment for coronavirus disease if they still need it. Some of the patients are chronically ill and are also being treated for underlying illnesses.