Guide to Lodging Accommodations
Links to these organizations and additional resources are available at copingmag.com/housing.
There are several reasons why people with cancer and their families may decide to travel to receive care. Some, especially in rural areas, may have limited access to oncologists and treatment facilities in their area. Others may travel to consult with a specialist, seek a second opinion on a diagnosis or treatment plan, or undergo a therapy that isn’t widely available. For cancer survivors and their families, finding accommodations can be a challenge. Several facilities offer lodging for free or for a nominal fee. Each temporary lodging program will have its own rules and criteria to qualify for services.
Many hospitals and American Cancer Society offices have agreements with nearby hotels and/or campgrounds for reduced rates for people with cancer and their families. Before traveling, contact the hospital’s social worker or the admitting desk for such information. Also, many of the major cancer centers have outpatient lodging run by the institution.
The following is a partial listing of organizations that provide or coordinate temporary accommodations for people with cancer and their families who must travel for medical care.
American Cancer Society Hope Lodges offer people with cancer and their families a free, temporary place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city. Guests have access to the American Cancer Society’s 24-hour toll-free call center, website, and comprehensive on-site libraries. Accommodations and eligibility requirements may vary by location. To find a Hope Lodge or to learn more about a specific facility, call the American Cancer Society at (800) 227-2345 or visit cancer.org/hopelodge.
Cancer Financial Assistance Coalition is a group of organizations that help people with cancer manage financial challenges. CFAC offers an online database at cancerfac.org that allows users to search for national or local financial assistance by type of assistance needed, such as housing, or by cancer diagnosis.
Hospital Hosts provides people traveling to receive medical care and their loved ones a nationwide network of economical housing options, ranging from bed and breakfast inns and hotels to special facilities for hospital patients and families and free accomodations in the homes of private volunteers. Visit hospitalhosts.com to search for lodging accommodations near your hospital or to join the network of private host homes.
Joe’s House, joeshouse.org, provides a national, centralized list of accommodations that cater to people with cancer, their families, and caregivers. Lodging options range from hospitality houses, hotels, host family matching programs, apartments, and more. Many lodging facilities listed are free of charge, but they all offer some type of medical discount. Details on each lodging facility are available with information on amenities, rates, reservation methods, and requirements. Those who do not have Internet access may call (877) 563-7468. A representative will provide you with the lodging facilities listed as well as their reservation information.
National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses, Inc. is an association of nonprofit organizations that provide family-centered lodging and support services to families and their loved ones who are receiving medical treatment far from their home communities. NAHHH members/houses offer inexpensive accommodations during hospitalizations, before and after surgery, and during repeated visits. Call (800) 542-9730 or visit nahhh.org for a directory of NAHHH members and houses.
The National Children’s Cancer Society helps families battling childhood cancer by offering direct financial assistance for non-medical expenses associated with treatment, including lodging and food. Visit thenccs.org or call (314) 241-1600 to request assistance.
Ronald McDonald House Charities provides a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. In return, families are asked to make a donation ranging on average from $5 to $25 per day, but if that isn’t possible, their stay is free. To find a Ronald McDonald House near you, visit rmhc.org or call (630) 623-7048.
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Contact each organization to obtain specific eligibility requirements. In addition, check with your local cancer treatment center, hospital, American Cancer Society office, or other cancer support organization for information about lodging or obtaining financial assistance for lodging for cancer survivors and their families. This listing was compiled by the editors of Coping® and may not include all lodging providers or coordinators.
This article was originally published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, January/February 2013.