UAB, Jefferson County & NHS Form COVID Unit at Aspire

The University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Jefferson County Commission, in conjunction with NHS Management, will establish a special 25-bed unit to treat patients from nursing home facilities who have COVID-19. The unit will be housed in a wing of the Aspire Physical Recovery Center at Hoover, operated by NHS Management. The establishment of the unit is the first step in a larger plan to assist the community in managing the pandemic.

The Jefferson County Commission voted to allocate up to $1.9 million of its Coronavirus Relief Fund allocation in support of this initiative.

The unit is designed to isolate nursing home residents who test positive and are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic, while providing the appropriate level of nursing care those patients require. The Aspire facility has a separate wing 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.

The unit, which began accepting patients in early July, will help ease pressure on hospitals that are facing a surge in COVID-19 patients by freeing up beds for acutely sick patients. It will also help reduce the potential spread of infection within a skilled nursing facility by providing a transition of care for patients who cannot be isolated in their home facility.

"Our team at NHS Management is excited about this cooperative venture with one of the nation's flagship health care institutions," said Nick Beckham, regional director of NHS. "This effort will bring new resources to the fight our staff members have been waging against this virus and will provide additional options for the residents in our care. This program allows us to be proactive instead of reactive in our fight. NHS believes this collaborative venture can become a best-practices model for the nation."