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"No onsite accommodation "

About: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

(as a parent/guardian),

In 2011 I was visiting Sydney with my son, 17 at the time, and we unexpectedly found ourselves in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. The admission ended up being for 3 weeks.

The town I live in is 550kms away from Sydney and the most stressful part of the whole stay was the fact that there is no relative accommodation provided by the hospital on site. On the ward he was first admitted to I was visited by the social worker and effectively told I could not stay with my son and this was also repeated by the Nurse Unit Manager (NUM), in what I thought was a none too pleasant manner I might add and in front of my son. I had to emphatically state that I was going nowhere. He was then moved to the ward appropriate to his condition the next day and to their credit the NUM went out of her way to accommodate me as best she could. Toward the end of the stay I had to seek accommodation elsewhere.

The Youth Support Team seemed to fully understood my dilemma and were very sympathetic to it but were unable to do anything about it, Youth Support covers ages 12-24. What I wish to highlight here is the stress that I believe some rural people face when confronted with this sort of situation. Is it not stressful enough to be so far away from home with a loved one that is ill without the outrageous added expenses that can ill be afforded when they find themselves in the city and then needing to find accommodation. Apparently the hospital has some accommodation at Ashfield! They also suggested a couple of places closer but I don't think it is unreasonable that I didn't wish to walk too far late at night.

Perhaps a talk to the Youth Support Team could provide some interesting stories that rural people have had to resort to so they could stay in Sydney with their children. I also spoke with other relatives during my stay there and that was the one resounding issue they all seemed to have, the added stress of accommodation and its cost.

We had a planned admission a few months later for surgery. I had no desire to fight over my staying in the ward and having time on my side this time I was able to book into in a pub down the road that offered reasonable rates to those that had a relative in the hospital. I wonder how those that make the policies would feel if their child has just had major surgery and they are asking that you stay the night and you have to tell them you can't.

On a more positive note I could not fault the care that he received from all the staff, no matter what their role.

I do believe however that the administration of the hospital need to take a serious look at the accommodation support provided to rural patients and their relatives.

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