Many patients diagnosed with mesothelioma face an additional challenge – finding an appropriate cancer treatment center for their particular diagnosis. Because mesothelioma is one of the rarer types of cancer, those seeking specialist treatment may have to travel some distance to access the best care. This is especially true for those who qualify for clinical trials and experimental treatments for mesothelioma. Travel and lodging expenses can present a logistical and financial challenge for patients who have to travel more than a few hours from home for treatment. Fortunately, there are a number of organizations that provide financial and logistical assistance to make travel and lodging for cancer patients less of a burden. These steps can help you find affordable transportation and places to stay for cancer patients and their families.
Lodging Resources at Cancer Treatment Centers
Most cancer treatment centers have a social services component that helps families deal with the many challenges that come with a difficult cancer diagnosis. The first step in finding affordable places to stay near your chosen cancer clinic is to check with the treatment center. Some, such as the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, MD, maintain long-term residential housing for the families of patients undergoing treatment.
Some of the hospitality centers associated with cancer treatment centers have specific criteria that families must meet in order to be approved for a stay. The most common include:
- Proximity to the treatment center – for example, at least an hour’s travel away
- Patient being in treatment, either outpatient or inpatient, at the center
- No infectious diseases or conditions that might affect others
- Referral from the social services department of the hospital
On premises lodging may be the ideal option for many families, but they can’t accommodate all patients that need nearby lodging while they are undergoing treatment. For that reason, many cancer treatment centers have worked out special rates with nearby motels and hotels, and will help families arrange lodging (places to stay), and even make travel arrangements.Taking advantage of these resources can free you and your family to focus on your treatment and coping with it.
Private Lodging (Places To Stay) for Cancer Patients
In addition to resources maintained by cancer clinics and treatment centers, there are a number of non-profit organizations that help families of cancer patients find lodging so that they can be there with their loved one during these difficult times.
The Healthcare Hospitality Network is a nationwide network of homes that offer lodging and support to families dealing with cancer. While most of their website is devoted to helping hospitality hosts manage their homes, there is a lodging search that lets you find homes by geographical area.
Hospitality Homes maintains a list of 60+ private homes that volunteer to host family members of patients who are undergoing treatment in the Boston area. The organization will match requesters with trained hosts who will provide a place to sleep and access to a bathroom. Hosts with Hospitality Homes do not provide meals or transportation, but most homes are located near to public transportation. Host homes can accommodate up to four people, and require that a patient in treatment be accompanied by an adult support person. There is an application process, and there may be a waiting list, so be aware of that when making plans.
Joe’s House is named for Joe Callahan, who battled cancer for six years, and accessed treatment in New York and Texas. After Joe’s death, his wife Ann created Joe’s House, a non-profit organization, to help other families dealing with cancer find affordable lodgings for themselves and their loved ones undergoing treatment. The comprehensive, searchable database at the Joe’s House website lists thousands of motels, hotels, and other types of lodging that offer discounts for traveling cancer patients and their families.
Hope Lodge, the American Cancer Society’s hospitality program, manages more than 30 locations across the U.S., including Puerto Rico. Each Hope Lodge has its own eligibility requirements, but all are open to patients 18 and over who are undergoing cancer treatment at nearby cancer treatment centers, and all are available at no charge to the patients or their families. As with many other programs, there may be waiting lists or other restrictions, and patients should contact individual Hope Lodge locations to learn more about eligibility and requirements.
In addition to Hope Lodge, the American Cancer Society partners with hotels, motels and inns across the country to provide free or deeply discounted lodgings for cancer patients and families traveling for cancer treatment. The Hotel Partnership program includes both overnight and extended stay accommodations.