Heartfelt Homes is helping us fill a need for some families whose children come to The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. On occasions when hospital accommodation is unavailable, the support Heartfelt Homes (HH) can provide is very welcome. In the last few weeks we have linked eleven families to Heartfelt Homes.
Our social workers report that HH has been very helpful and speedy in their response to their requests for assistance, and the families have been very grateful. At the time of a medical crisis, new diagnosis or treatment, families need to be able to focus on their child’s needs. They need to be here for their child and sometimes find it difficult to arrange care for their other children.
The hospital provides accommodation for parents of inpatients both on the wards, in our parents hostel and in long stay units. However, we are unable to accommodate siblings or extended family. Ronald McDonald House cannot always assist as the demand on their service is high. In this situation the provision of two nights’ or more accommodation by Heartfelt Homes assists a family through the medical crisis and give them time to make alternative arrangements for the longer term. It also enables families to stay together at a very difficult time. Another group who could benefit from the assistance of Heartfelt Homes are families of outpatients. Families who need to travel a long distance to the hospital often require accommodation before or after the appointment, or sometimes an outpatient appointment can lead to an unexpected admission and a family, often with siblings who have come along for the day, find themselves having to stay here.
From a desperate Dad we helped recently, his son was the victim of a hit and run whilst visiting friends on the Gold Coast.
“I would like to thank you all for your support. My son had his 2nd opp today and is doing well, although he has lost sight in his left eye and it won’t return. It’s hard to see my son like this every day but thanks to Caroline for the great work she does at Heartfelt Homes and the donations from you all, I now have 1 less worry.
The first night here I slept in the car park on the floor as I had no were to stay and I did not know we’re to even go to find a place, all I was thinking was being with my son. I would like to thank you all from the bottom of my heart. We are hoping to be back in Newcastle in the next day or 2, it’s been very hard for myself and Caroline has not just helped me with somewhere to stay but also someone to talk to every day, thanks you so much I will never forget what u have done for me.” x
Here are a few more examples of families we have helped:
Just recently we helped a family whose baby son needed lifesaving surgery at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Dad hadn’t worked since his birth (over 4 weeks), so they were financially struggling, and Ronald McDonald House was full. We managed to find them a place to stay, together, while their baby had surgery. They are so grateful to Heartfelt Homes, and we are so glad we could help.
We helped a family from Bathurst whose two and half year old was rushed to Westmead with suspected Leukaemia. Mum could stay in hospital but Dad and their 11 month old could not. Dad needed Grandma to stay with them too, to enable him to support his wife and be there for his baby. We provided 3 nights’ accommodation.
On Anzac day 2014, we helped a family from Ballina who were on holiday in Coffs Harbour when Dad had a major stroke and stopped breathing. He had to be airlifted to John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle for life saving treatment. Mum, son and daughter were beside themselves with worry and didn’t know the area at all. Within an hour of receiving the referral, Heartfelt Homes was able to offer 3 nights’ accommodation very close to the hospital, whilst Dad was stabilised.
We accommodated and elderly couple from East Ballina on the Gold Coast when the husband needed major surgery for Lung Cancer. His wife is in her late 70’s and had limited vision and she had never been to the Gold Coast before. She could not drive and was incredibly stressed about being able to stay near her husband and support him. We provided 3 nights’ accommodation for her and her sister so she could be with her husband and she had the security of her sister to take of her.
We accommodated a family who were due to stay at Ronald MacDonald House and whose child was due to receive treatment at Westmead. After travelling hundreds of kilometres and arriving at RMCH they were turned away as Rotor Virus was going round RMCH causing a lock down. Children who are vulnerable and not in good health cannot stay in shared accommodation as they can be exposed to illnesses they cannot fight off. Our solution of providing private rooms overcomes this common problem that families face and which prevents many patients from receiving the treatment they so desperately need.