KAMLOOPS — Having a sick family member can cause a great deal of stress. Throw in a hospital stay in an unfamiliar city, and a tough situation becomes all the more difficult.
While many local families are able to receive care at Royal Inland Hospital, some treatments require short-term stays in Vancouver or Kelowna.
On Thursday, representatives from the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation visited Kamloops to share information on the home-away-from-home for Interior patients and their families traveling to Kelowna for care.
The KGH Foundation is more than halfway to its goal of raising $8 million to construct the 20-room home called JoeAnna's House. The home, which will accommodate out-of-town patients and their families, is unlike any accommodations currently offered in Kelowna.
"There is nothing (like this) right now," said Chandel Shmidt, KGH Foundation's director of annual programs. "There are some hotels that offer a rate for people who have to travel for care, but no designated facility for this purpose."
For a cost of approximately $20 a night, families from Kamloops and other Interior communities will be able to stay on the grounds of Kelowna General Hospital, While their loved ones receive medical treatments.
Kamloops resident Danica Crawford has a daughter with Cerebral Palsy. Complications with the condition require frequent trips to Vancouver for treatments.
There, the family often stays at Ronald McDonald House on the grounds of BC Children's Hospital.
"My understanding is it will be very similar to Ronald McDonald House," Crawford said. "I think it will be on a smaller scale. Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver is large, and there's four kitchens, and it's got three or four levels. It's huge. My understanding is JoeAnna's house will be a smaller scale of that, and a little bit more homey feeling."
JoeAnna's House will also provide lodging for adults.
"The primary focus is going to be families with kids or babies staying at the hospital so that mom and dad have somewhere to stay," Schmidt said, "but we will be open to adults as well. While Ronald McDonald House is limited to just kids, we'll have the ability to offer somewhere for (people) looking after elderly parents, or their spouses while they're at the hospital as well."
With a much lower cost than a hotel stay, JoeAnna's House will ease the financial strain on families, while removing the pressures of having to find accommodations in a new city.
"Hotels in Kelowna are expensive at the best of times and impossible to find during the summer months," Schmidt said.
The KGH Foundation has raised $4.5 million for JoeAnna's House so far and continues its fundraising campaign in hopes of opening the doors to the short-term lodging by October 2019.
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