I need help finding a place to stay near the hospital
If your baby is in hospital for a long time or at a hospital that is far from your home, it might really help to have a place to stay nearby.
This can help you save money on travel costs and might also help you be with them as much as you wish to be. Find out more below.
Many hospitals have free accommodation for parents to stay overnight, which can provide a place for rest, showering and eating. Some will be on site at the hospital and some might be a short walking distance away.
You could try asking a member of staff on the unit - they will be used to these types of questions. If they don't know they may be able to suggest someone who might be able to help.
Accommodation can be provided directly through the hospital or there is a nationwide charity called Ronald McDonald House that provides accommodation for families of children being treated at the new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh. There is also accommodation for families of children being treated at the Royal Hospital for Children, through an independent Ronald McDonald House charity in Glasgow.
To stay in one of the Ronald McDonald Houses, you must first ask the hospital to refer you.
Ronald McDonald House can also provide day passes so you can use any facilities and have a place to cook even if there isn't space to stay overnight.
Young Patients Family Fund
The Young Patients Family Fund is available if you normally live in Scotland and if you are the parent or carer of a baby in neonatal care. It can help help with the costs of travel and food while your baby is in hospital, as well as accommodation costs if hospital accommodation is not available.
You can make a claim as soon as your baby is admitted to the neonatal unit, and you can claim for costs from your time on the unit up to 3 months after your baby is discharged.
The fund is available for all families with anyone under 18 in hospital and has replaced the Neonatal Expenses Fund.
What to expect from hospital accommodation
If you are able to find accommodation with the hospital, you are likely to find facilities that include a bathroom or shower room as well as places to prepare and cook food.
There are often places for older children to play, and places like Ronald McDonald allow other family members to visit to help provide you with the support network you need.
You'll also likely have free WiFi which may be helpful especially if you or any family members staying need to work remotely.
You'll be closer to your baby while they are staying in hospital on the neonatal unit, whilst also offering you a separate space to rest.
In any shared or communal areas you might also find peer support from meeting other families going through similar experiences.
You should be able to find out more about hospital accommodation on the hospital website or ask a staff member on the neonatal unit.
You can also find out more about what to expect at a Ronald McDonald House.
I don't feel hospital accommodation would be suitable for me
Where you stay is a personal choice and you might feel for many reasons that hospital accommodation isn't suitable for you or your family.
If you're unsure you could ask to look around the hospital accommodation before you decide whether or not it is suitable.
There are other choices to consider too. It can be helpful to think about how much money staying closer to the unit might save. If you're saving money from daily travel expenses and food costs by having a kitchen you can put anything you save towards your accommodation costs.
The websites below might be useful places to start for searching for accommodation nearby. The staff on the unit might also be able to help you to find local organisations who help provide accommodation to families needing to be near hospital.
If you just need a few nights' accommodation it may be that the easiest solution is a budget hotel.
These chains have many hotels across Scotland and there may be one that is close or dramatically reduces your travel time.
You could take a look at some of the options below.
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