OTTAWA -- In April 2020, the Queensway Carleton Hospital took over the vacant Fairfield Inn and Suites and transformed it into an off-site hospital.

So far, it has been a big success with 152 patients coming through the doors at the Kanata hotel.

"Once you go through those doors, it’s not a hotel. It’s a hospital," says Warren, who visits his wife at the hotel every day.

Transformed by the QCH, this former hotel now has 56 beds for patients like Jackie who has Type 1 Diabetes. 

"I wasn’t able to eat, so they put me on a feeding tube," says Jackie.

This off-site hospital was created as a way to keep patients safe at the beginning of the pandemic and help with capacity limits at the QCH. 

"The level of care here is identical, equal, as good as, better, than the main Queensway Carleton campus, and that is impressive," says Warren.

Patients here say being in a repurposed hotel gives them an extra level of comfort. Some even go as far as saying it helps with their recovery and their mental health.

Three months ago, Lois Frazer-Blakeney broke her ankle, and she has been at Fairfield ever since. 

"The staff have been excellent. I can’t say enough good about them," says Frazier-Blakeney.  "There's a more personal feel in here. A one on one. And you get to know people. You get to know the nurses, a little bit about them, they know a bit more about you."

Julissa Edgar is the building's only nurse practitioner and says having a facility like this makes a big difference in patient care. 

"I think a lot of our patients are apprehensive when they first come, because they don’t know what to expect. But once they arrive, they’re usually pleasantly surprised," says Edgar. "It’s really helped us to just have more capacity to serve our community and make sure that our geriatric patients are in a place that’s safe and able to meet their needs."

The building has been retrofitted to accommodate patients. Everything from bathrooms, to a physiotherapy gym. 

For patients like Jackie, her recovery is ongoing, but she says progress has improved. 

"I feel like I have recovered," says Jackie. "But I’m just waiting for the day that I’m able to come home."

And that day has come for Frazier-Blakeney who after breaking her ankle, says they will walk out the front door as she finally heads home today.

"I’m going to miss a lot of the staff, yes I am. I really am," says Frazier-Blakeney. "Because they’ve been terrific. And I think I’ve made a few good friends."

QCH was the first hospital to create a full functioning off-site hospital unit separate from the main campus during the pandemic

The off-site hospital is currently funded by Ontario's Ministry of Health until March 2022.