Patient and caregivers who need to travel for leukemia treatments or solid organ transplants are benefiting from a new $720,000 pilot project that provides affordable patient housing options.
The pilot is funded through a $360,000 contribution from the Province, which matches a gift from the family of the late Adella Krall, who was mother to Diana and her sister Michelle. To help other patients and their families experiencing similar challenges, the Kralls donated funds raised by Diana and Michelle and Diana's charity benefits to the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. The Kralls recognized the need for sustainable affordable housing for outpatients and caregivers while Adella was travelling between Nanaimo and Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) for multiple myeloma treatment.
The Patient Accommodation Pilot Project benefits patients from the leukemia/bone marrow transplant and the solid organ transplant programs at VGH when they face lengthy outpatient stays. The pilot will run for an estimated 18 months, with as many as 120 families expected to access the program over the next year.
Currently, 10 fully-furnished and equipped one-bedroom apartments located close to VGH are available to patients and their caregivers. A $20 per day subsidy is available if the apartments are fully booked, or if patients prefer to secure their own housing.
Since the housing project began in early March 2011, 36 patients and their caregivers have been accommodated through the program. The Province is committed to ensuring access to health-care benefits and supports is looked at with a provincewide lens. Patients supported through this program have come from 28 communities across B.C., including Kamloops, Comox, Sechelt, Prince Rupert, Fort St. John and Trail.
The Krall family are long-time supporters of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, a registered charity that raises funds for the latest, most sophisticated medical equipment, world-class research and improvements to patient care for VGH, UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and community health services across Vancouver.
The Patient Accommodation Pilot Project is just one of the supports in place for B.C. patients and families who need to travel for medical care. The Province's recently invested $13.4 million toward a new Ronald McDonald House in Vancouver, which will accommodate up to 2,200 out-of-town families a year who need to travel with their children for care at BC Children's Hospital.
Additionally, the Province's Travel Assistance Program, a corporate partnership between the Ministry of Health and private transportation carriers, offers discounts ranging from 30 to 100 per cent off regular fares for eligible B.C. residents who must travel for non-emergency, physician-referred care.
- Currently 10 patients and/or caregivers are living in the fully-furnished units and another 15 patients and/or caregivers receiving a subsidy of $20/day for accommodations they located themselves. Another six patients and/or caregivers are in-process.
- About 200 bone marrow transplants and between 350 and 450 solid organ transplants are performed at Vancouver General Hospital each year.
- About 35 per cent of bone marrow transplant patients, and 20 per cent of solid organ transplant patients and their caregivers, are from outside the Lower Mainland.
- The average length of stay for these patients in Vancouver once they are discharged from hospital ranges from three months for transplant patients and to up to nine months for leukemia patients who have had bone marrow transplants.
- Adella Krall passed away from multiple myeloma in 2002. The Krall family has raised more than $6 million for the UBC & VGH Hospital Foundation to support patients and families living with multiple myeloma, leukemia and other blood-related cancers.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
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Vancouver Coastal Health
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VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation
604 603-5847 (cell)