A SISTER'S LOSS…AND A NEW WEBSITE FOR MEDICAL TRAVELERS AND MEDICAL ACCOMMODATIONS
August 27, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Health NewsFlorida businesswoman is the founder of www.hospitalhosts.com, a site for medical travelers – both patients and their families - looking for medical accommodations, hospital guest houses or a spare room in a private home.
Valerie Szymaniak lost her brother to cancer a few years ago. But the kindness of a stranger back then has propelled her to inaugurate a new website today.
Szymaniak, a South Florida businesswoman, is the founder of www.hospitalhosts.com, a site for medical travelers – both patients and their families - looking for medical accommodations, hospital guest houses or a spare bedroom in a private home. She was living in California at the time her brother was diagnosed with cancer in Philadelphia. She then began a frequent cross-country commute.
"I was fortunate enough to find a local woman," says Szymaniak, "who had opened up her home to patients and their families needing a place to stay near the hospital. She was incredibly warm and caring. And I realized there was a tremendous need for a comprehensive database of places to stay near a hospital for patients or families who had to travel out of town."
Szymaniak returned home determined to help other people who found themselves in this situation. And the idea for www.hospitalhosts.com was born.
She's now compiling a burgeoning database of hospital guest-houses, sponsored facilities such as Ronald McDonald Houses, hotels near hospitals, and private host homes such as the one in which she stayed. Her service is free. And, in addition, the website can also help with airline and rental car reservations.
Szymaniak is paying particular attention to expanding this network of private host homes. She notes that millions of families are touched by serious illness each year. The burden is compounded if the patient needs to travel to receive medical treatment…or, if the loved one has to travel to be with the patient
"I believe this is the first time this has been tried on such a large scale," Szymaniak says. "And it will also be the most comprehensive site of its kind." In fact, she's planning to eventually grow the site internationally.
Traveling back and forth to be with their loved one can be a debilitating expense for most families. So Szymaniak is negotiating special prices with many facilities. And, in many private homes, there will be no charge at all…because often the host family has gone through the same thing themselves.
"Serous illness is burden enough," Valerie Szymaniak says. "Finding comfortable, economical accommodations near the hospital for the medical traveler, or for his/her loved ones, shouldn't be."
Hospital Hosts (www.hospitalhosts.com) was created to help relieve patients with serious illness – and their families - of the burden of finding housing that's appropriate, affordable, and close to the medical facility. In addition, central to its mission is the goal of creating an extensive network of private host homes. It's a one-stop resource for medical travel, so that all involved can concentrate their energies on the most important thing – the treatment and the cure.