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Medical Philanthropy: Strangers open their homes to traveling families

March 7, 2016

Bedroom with LCD TV

We in the Boston area are fortunate enough to have local access to some of the best doctors, hospitals, and medical research in the nation. Our healthcare hub attracts more than 260,000 individuals from all over the world who need care each year, but with nearby hotels costing between $109 and $169 a night with a medical discount, patients and families often find themselves facing an immense financial hardship to come and stay here to receive the care they need. Even those who can afford the pricey hotels may be faced with a lack of available rooms during major Boston events that tend to crowd the city, such as Red Sox home games, the Boston Marathon, or college graduation season.

Enter Hospitality Homes, a non-profit organization founded in 1983 that connects people traveling to Boston for treatment with volunteers offering their homes or guest rooms without charge. Since its founding, the organization has helped over 15,000 families find lodging during medical treatment. And in most instances, these homes end up offering plenty in emotional support as well as physical, as host families often form relationships with the patients and their families, staying in touch long after the patient’s and/or family’s stay.

So far, Hospitality Homes has inspired similar volunteer networks in both California and Philadelphia. As this and many other movements are spreading vastly, there is no denying the evolution of a modern philanthropic patient. People are willing to help in more ways than just financial, and it is becoming increasingly clear that monetary donations are not the only way to show support. Gifts can come in the form of volunteer patient advocacy work, donated housing, and even specimen donation or clinical trial participation to improve the care others receive. This concept of giving is certainly nothing new to healthcare – blood donations became common as early as the 1940s – we’re just proud to see so many new and interesting ways to help, particularly a program such as this that has grown and flourished right in our own backyard.

For more information on Hospitality Homes, please visit the following resources:

When families travel for medical care, strangers open their homes — and arms
Hospitality Homes: About Hosting