Becoming a Guest

Our goal is to provide patient-families a place to stay for as long as they may need.

Please scroll down for how to apply to be a guest and to view FAQs for guests and medical staff.

Four Ways to Apply to Be a Guest

(1) Contact us directly by phone 484-380-2999 or email: lodging@hostsforhospitals.org

(2) If you live within the U.S. and wish for us to call you, fill out below and submit:

Fields marked with an * are required

(3) If you wish for us to email you an application, fill out below and submit:

Fields marked with an * are required

(4) Fill out our online application:

Guest Application

Benefits of Host-Home Lodging

Having family members present is of direct benefit to patients and family members. Patients need the support of family members to navigate complex health care systems and decisions. Family members need a place to go to restore their energy and thus be able to help their hospitalized loved one each day.

For both patients and family members, staying at a host-home provides a place where guests witness that life goes on normally, providing a break from the medical crises.

Indeed, for hospitalized patients there is peace-of-mind in knowing that their loved ones are at a home with a caring host-family, rather than being alone at a hotel.

Host-Guest Videos

Joe and Donna Burk from Texas needed lodging for one week in association with going to the Wills Eye Institute 

Rockeisha Barnett of Jamaica needed lodging for 6 months to undergo surgery and rehab at the Shriners Hospital

Elizabeth and Chris Sebero from Alabama needed lodging for 2 months so there baby could be born at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia 

Guest Testimonials

Help when medical bills were piling up!

I found out that at 36 weeks I would need to be close by the hospital.

I almost cried at the kindness!

Friend-to-Friend
End-of-Year
Appeal

Create a personal pledge page and invite your friends to join you in making either a Giving Tuesday or end-of-year gift as a caring way to help patients and families in need.

Learn More

ytheader

Please visit our

youtube

channel to view over thirty
videos and webcams
showing wonderful it is
when patient-families are
welcomed into host-homes

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Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for Guests

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 I pay for this service?
There is a $10/night/per-family service fee to help cover the costs of our program. 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.

FAQs for Medical Partners

Does Hosts for Hospitals offer presentations to hospital staff?
Yes! Pending availability, we might also have one of our hosts present as well. To schedule an in-service presentation for your staff or to request materials, please call (215) 472-3801.
How does Hosts for Hospitals program differ from other hospital-related housing?
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, number of guests, geographic origins or treating Greater Philadelphia medical institution.
What role do hospital staff have in referring patients and their families to the program?
Quite often, patients and their families first learn about the Hosts for Hospitals program through hospital staff.

On the one hand, it is invaluable that hospital staff be well-informed about how Hosts for Hospitals works so they may provide a concise, accurate description of what the program offers.

On the other hand, just as any hospital staff-person can explain about what they do better than we can, we can best explain to potential guests the option of lodging at a host-home. We therefore suggest that hospital staff say to patient-families when speaking about lodging,

“There is a wonderful program that may have a perfect, free place for you to stay. If you like, I can have them call you to explain this lodging option.”

The hospital staff-person would then relay to us the name and phone number of the main contact person in the potential patient-family. Nothing else would be required of hospital staff.

In this way we may best inform potential guests about Hosts for Hospitals and ease any initial concerns they may have about staying at a host-home. These potential guests will then be able to make an informed decision about whether this service meets their needs.

What support do hospital staff receive for presenting the program to potential guests?
We have simple materials available so that patients and their families may be easily informed about the program. These materials include guest application forms, guest brochures explaining how the program works, and pictures of host homes and past hosts and guests. Additionally, we welcome the opportunity to attend hospital departmental staff meetings so as to listen to your particular concerns and otherwise answer questions about the program.
Who may be a guest?
Hosts for Hospitals is open to guests of all races, faiths and nationalities provided that the guest:

  • lives so far from the hospital that communiting is difficult;
  • has a permanent home to return to;
  • is an important support person for a patient receving medical care at a Philadelphia area hospital;
  • and is unlikely to put the host family at risk in any manner.
May patients be guests?
Patients may be guests as long as they can be independent, whether by themselves or with the help of a support person.
Who are the hosts?
Hosts are the cornerstone of the Hosts for Hospitals program.

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-sight 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 do not expect to socialize with guests unless guests wish to do so.

What services do the hosts provide?
Hosts provide a comfortable place to sleep, a clean bathroom and a feeling of home. Hosts provide all sheets, towels, blankets nd the like, as well as directions to the host home, to the hospital in question, to grocery stores and to public transportation.

Hosts are not asked to provide meals, toiletries or transportation–these items 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. Hosts explain whatever additional services they wish to provide when they first speak by phone with their guests.

Do guests pay for this service?
There is $10/night/PER-FAMILY service fee to help cover the costs of our program. 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 guests will only be placed in a home where reimbursement is required if they agree so in advance.
What are the steps in the guest application process?
There are two steps in the guest application process: the Application Form and the Personal Reference Check. Each of these steps are quite simple and take only a short time to complete.
What is involved in filling out the Application Form?
The Application Form most often is filled out in just a minutes by a family member contacting us over the phone. The information we receive (such as length of stay, number of guests, if parking is needed, allergies, etc.) allows us to match the guests with a suitable host.

Hospital staff who have these forms may also complete them with the family then contact us with the information or send it to us by fax: (215) 472-3803.

What is involved in the Personal Reference Check?
So that our hosts may feel comfortable taking guests into their homes, we require a personal character reference for each adult guest.

We ask for the name and phone number of a medical professional who knows the guest well enough to give a character reference –usually a hometown doctor, dentist or nurse. If the referral source is unfamiliar with the guest, we will ask for additional references.

We need to know that the guest is considerate, responsible, reliable and able to independently manage within the host home. The rule of thumb we ask of the person proving this reference is: would you invite this person to stay in my home?

In addition, it is important that potential guests be free of alcohol or other substance dependency, and, be without threatening mental health problems.

What happens once the application process is completed?
Once the referral process is complete, we will immediately review our network of hosts for the host who best meets the guest’s specific needs.

Once we confirm that that host is available, we then call the guest and provide the host’s name and phone number. We ask that the guest then call the host within 24 hours to coordinate arrangements for the stay.

At this time the guest and host will discuss house-guidelines regarding hours, meals, habits, use of phone, etc.

We also ask that the guest confirm the stay with the host 48 hours before the guest is expected to arrive at the host’s home. As the host will be expecting the guest at the agreed upon day and time, we ask that if there is a change in the guest’s plans that the guest alert both the host and our office.

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 is completed for them.

What can potential guests do to improve their chances of being placed in a volunteer-host home?
We have the best chance of placing guests who are flexible in their housing needs, and, who give us as much notice as possible.

The more able and willing they are to stay a little farther away from the hospital, to use commuter trains and other public transportation, to use a shared bathroom with hosts, to refrain from smoking, etc., the more likely it is that we will be able to find housing for them.

How long does it take to place a guest once they are referred to Hosts for Hospitals?
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.
Should hospital staff give potential guests the HfH phone number, or should hospital staff ask HfH to call the guests?
As noted above, if potential guests authorize you to call us on their behalf, we recommend that you do so as we may then call them. This way we can immediately begin the process of finding suitable lodging, which is quite helpful for guests who often are so busy with other details associated with the hospital stay that delay taking care of making lodging arrangements for themselves.
How else may hospital staff support the Hosts for Hospitals program?
Ideally, the Hosts for Hospitals program would be known throughout your medical community. However, as hospitals are such large communities, the fact that hospital staff in one department know about our program does not necessarily mean that staff in other departments know of the program as well.

You can thus help ensure that all hospital patients and their families know of the host-home option by:

  • speaking about our service with your colleagues
    passing on our literature to them
  • arranging for us to meet with departmental staff
  • arranging for host-guest stories to be including in hospital publications
  • informing us of medical conferences at which our program could be presented, and
  • arranging for the program to be mentioned at the top of the lodging resource section of the hospital website