A transitional care centre formed a ‘link’ (an intermediate step) between the hospital and a return to living independently. These centres were set up to maintain sufficient capacity in the hospitals. The transitional care centres provided support to patients testing positive for COVID-19. The patients in these centres:
- were previously hospitalised;
- or were previously examined in a triage and testing centre or an emergency department where it was decided that admission to hospital was not necessary.
However, these patients were either found to be unable to comply with the strict rules of isolation, hygiene and keeping away from high-risk individuals when they would return to their normal living situation. Or these patients still needed specific care. For these reasons, they could be admitted to a transitional care centre for a stay of up to three weeks. They could recover there and receive the necessary care and support before returning home.
The transitional care centres were staffed by (general) practitioners, nurses and healthcare assistants, and financed by the NIHDI. The federated states were responsible for providing the necessary additional support. To this end, they developed partnerships with the social services of the municipalities or the ‘Social Work’ departments of various health insurance funds.
During the period from March-April to May-June 2020, 6 centres were active in Flanders and 1 in Wallonia. To meet new needs, 8 new centres were opened in Flanders and 3 in Wallonia in November 2020.