Frequently Asked Questions
How does Hosts for Hospitals' service differ from others?
Hosts for Hospitals provides lodging through volunteer-Hosts who have a spare bedroom in their homes. This service is available to all potential Guests regardless of a patient’s age or illness.
Who are the Hosts?
Our Hosts are ordinary people in all walks of life. At the same time they are extraordinary in that they are willing to share their home with people in need. The Host homes range from apartments to brownstones to single-family homes. Before being accepted into the program, Hosts for Hospitals screens each Host and conducts an on-site inspection of the Host’s home. Hosts are also trained to be sensitive to Guests’ feelings of stress and concern for their loved ones. Hosts know to respect the privacy of their Guests and thus will not expect you to socialize with them unless you wish to do so.
What services do the Hosts provide?
Your Hosts will provide you a comfortable place to sleep, a clean bathroom and a feeling of home. Hosts provide all sheets, towels, blankets and the like, as well as directions to the Host home, to your hospital, to grocery stores and public transportation. Hosts, though, are not required to provide meals or transportation–these are the responsibility of the Guests. Many Hosts, however, are happy to help out in these and other areas, such as by making their kitchen available at least for light meals. Whatever additional services your Host wishes to provide will be explained to you when you first communicate with your Host by phone or email.
Which hospitals does Hosts for Hospitals provide service to?
We accept Guests associated with patients receiving treatment at any medical facility within the area of Greater Philadelphia, including Southern New Jersey and Wilmington, Delaware.
Do Guests pay for this service?
To help cover the costs of our program, for the first 14 nights lodged there is a $20/night/per-family service fee, and then $10/per night thereafter. The fee is not a charitable donation. Hosts also have the right to ask for expense reimbursement of up to $15/night. However, Hosts rarely ask for such reimbursements, and you will only be placed in a home where reimbursement is required if you agree so in advance.
How do I apply to be a Guest?
An application form needs to be filled out. This is usually done through a short phone call to our office–though hospital personnel often have application forms available which may be completed and sent to us. You may also email us for the application. On the application we will ask your specific needs as a Guest, so that we may then match you with a Host-home that best meets your needs.
What is involved in the screening process?
We require a personal character reference for each Guest age 18 and above. This reference person is usually a physician or other health care provider from the Guest’s home community. We need to know that the Guest is considerate, reliable, responsible and able to manage independently within the Host’s home. The rule of thumb is: would I invite this person to stay in my own home? In addition, it is important that all potential Guests be free of alcohol or other substance dependency, and, be without threatening mental health problems.
How soon are Guests placed once the application/referral process is completed?
Once the referral process is complete, we will immediately review our network of Hosts for a Host-home where your needs may be best met. Once we confirm that that Host-home is available, we will then contact you with the Host’s name and contact information. Though we ask that we normally be given a number of days to place a Guest at a host home, often the entire process can be completed upon the same day upon which we first receive the referral, assuming that we are able to reach the person providing the personal character reference for the Guest.
What happens next after I am given the name and phone number of my Host?
Once we notify you of your Host, we ask that you contact the Host within 24 hours to coordinate arrangements for your stay. At this time you and your Host will discuss any house guidelines regarding hours, meals, habits, use of phone, etc. We also ask that you confirm your stay with your Host 48 hours before you are expected to arrive at your Host’s home. As your Host will be expecting you at the agreed upon day and time, we ask that if there is a change in your plans, you alert both your Host and our office. Courtesy in this regard is greatly appreciated. Please note that any additional Guests who have not gone through the screening process will not be able to stay at the Host-home until a reference check is completed for them.
What do I do when I arrive at my Host’s home?
When you arrive your Host will provide a liability release form which all adult Guests must sign. You will also receive a Guest brochure, Guest survey and return envelope. After you leave, please send us this survey so that we may evaluate our program.