Becoming a Guest
FAQs for Medical Partners
Yes! As available we will also have one of our hosts present as well. To schedule an in-service for your staff or to request materials, please contact us at 215-472-3801 or www.hostsforhospitals.org.
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.
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 and accurate description of what the program offers to these potential guests.
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,
If you like, I can have them call you to explain this lodging option”
The hospital staff-person would then contact us with the name and phone number of the person in the patient-family that we should contact. 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.
We have simple materials available for hospital staff so that they may easily inform patients and their families about the program. These materials include guest application forms, guest brochures explaining how the program works and pictures of host homes and past host and guests.
In addition, 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.
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.
Patients may be guests as long as they can be independent, whether by themselves or with the help
of a support person.
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.
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 publc 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.
As HOSTS for HOSPITALS is a nonprofit organization, we do not charge for our services and most of our hosts offer lodging for free as well.
99.9% of the time hosts do not ask for any type of payment from their guests. Hosts do, however, have the right to ask for expense reimbursement of up to $15/night for the first guest and $5/night for each additional guests–this payment is made by the guests directly to the hosts. Please note that 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.
Such reimbursement is separate from any donation which guests may make to HOSTS for HOSPITALS–the program does rely on donations from guests and others.
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.
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, and then, contact us with the information or sendd it to us by fax: 215-472-3803.
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.
Once the referrel 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.
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.
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.
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.
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: