Such an institution existed in the western world in the past as the “medical inn”. Where there is always pressure on available beds, an added advantage of such a dharamshala is that it serves as a preadmission lodging facility where patients from far flung areas can stay during the stage of investigations before admission.
It can also serve in the same way to enable the discharged patients to attend the hospital for immediate outpatient follow-up.
The dharamshala, for obvious reasons, must not be located within the hospital complex. A suitable nearby site should enable people to come to hospital within a short time without the need of any transport.
For this purpose, a site at a walking distance of five to ten minutes should be acceptable.
The number of rooms to be provided will be governed by the hospital size, type of clientele, popularity of the hospital, and extent of the hospitals “catchment area”. Accommodation should be provided in single rooms, each with a small anteroom, and two to four beds for a family.
Toilet facilities can be centralised for a group of such rooms. It is also desirable to have dormitory type accommodation in large halls for single persons.
Community facilities like adequate number of water taps, bathrooms and latrines will have to be provided. Cooking platforms sheltered from the elements will enable the people to cook their food.