I need help with food costs in hospital
When you are spending long hours in hospital with your baby it can be a huge challenge to look after your own needs such as making sure you are eating well. Many parents find themselves grabbing food on the go but this can be expensive. Find out more below.
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 with the costs of travel and food while your baby is in hospital.
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. You cannot claim for the cost of food under the Young Patients Family Fund if the hospital has provided meals free of charge or meal vouchers.
How else can I save money on food in hospital?
Some hospitals are able to provide vouchers which can be used to buy food in hospital cafes, and restaurants. You cannot claim for the cost of food under the Young Patients Family Fund, if the hospital has provided meals free of charge or meal vouchers.
Most neonatal units have kitchen facilities for families where you might be able to reheat food from home.
Some units have facilities provided by Ronald McDonald House charity. Sometimes families can be given access to kitchen facilities if there isn't space for the family to stay. This gives you access to areas where you can cook food. You can find out more about their day passes on their website.
Asking family or friends for help
Family and friends will want to support you through this time and it can be helpful for them if you make practical suggestions of things that will make a difference.
If you feel comfortable you could ask them to help by bringing in food or making you a daily lunch bag. You could offer to pay for the food they bring for you. This type of practical support can save you money and make sure you eat regularly.
You may already have a lot of support with people providing you with meals at home, but they may not have specifically thought about what you need to eat in hospital, so you could suggest it as an alternative way of helping.
What you ask for help with from families and friends is up to you. It's very individual and personal so don't worry if this doesn't feel comfortable as an option for you.
Saving money on food on the go
You can sometimes reduce costs by looking at loyalty cards and apps that help you save money on buying food. If you're buying hot drinks for example, some coffee chains will offer loyalty cards that provide free drinks after a certain amount of purchases. You could share these with families and friends that visit.
You could look out for meal deals and loyalty cards in supermarkets or shops nearby to the hospital which may be cheaper.
There are also some apps which provide daily offers on food that would otherwise go to waste. You can download these apps to your phone and find out what's available in the area you are in. Take a look at some of the apps below.
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