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    Tips for hosting people who are traveling for medical care

    Open Homes hosts have helped reduce some of the expenses for medical travelers.
    By Airbnb on Jul 18, 2019
    3 min read
    Updated Dec 7, 2020

    Highlights

    • The cost of lodging can put a huge burden on those traveling for medical care

    • The Open Homes program has partnered with trusted nonprofits to provide free, temporary stays for patients seeking care and their families

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    Airbnb's Open Homes program has evolved into Airbnb.org, a brand-new 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Thank you for creating the Open Homes community with us. We're excited for you to be a part of this new chapter.

    When people travel for medical care, their families, caregivers, and loved ones often travel with them to provide critical emotional and physical support. But sometimes, the cost of airfare and accommodations are challenging barriers to overcome alone.

    Airbnb’s Open Homes program has helped relieve that burden through hosts who’ve let medical patients, or those traveling with them, stay at their place. If you’re getting ready to open your home for the first time to a person traveling for treatment or rest, you’ll likely have questions about how to prepare your space.

    We spoke to nonprofit staff managers and families who’ve traveled for medical care to get a clear sense of what to expect. Read on to find out how you can offer someone the comfort and space they need to recover.

    How do I communicate with guests before they arrive?

    After a nonprofit organization like Fisher House or The Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation reaches out with a request to book your home, they may ask follow-up questions about the space. Individual guests that have been vetted by our nonprofit partners can also reach out directly with questions and to request a stay.

    Before confirming the reservation, you can message with the nonprofit—or sometimes, the guest directly—to gauge whether your spare room or home fits their particular needs.

    You can also share logistical details like bed set-up and whether the guest will have access to a shower and tub. Other details to consider sharing at this stage: whether your building has an elevator or is otherwise wheelchair-accessible, and if there is private space available to store medications or other personal items.

    What kinds of questions should I ask the person coming to stay?

    To know what to expect, you can ask how many people they’re traveling with and how much privacy their family would like during their stay. Feel free to share any additional information (for example: your family is bilingual, clear directions to your front door, where they can find the well-labeled wifi password) to ensure the stay runs smoothly.

    How can I make the guest feel welcome?

    The most common thing we hear is that soft sheets, clean towels, and access to fans or a heater make guests feel at home. Some people have sensitivities to dust and pet hair and may need to stay in a place that’s been professionally cleaned. Depending on their health and the season that they’re traveling, they might be looking for temperature-regulated air conditioning and screens on the windows. If you have any questions about a specific guest’s cleaning requirements, you can always send a message to the person who requested the stay.

    How can I go above and beyond to make sure they feel at home while they heal?

    Because these guests tend to spend the majority of their time traveling to and from treatment facilities, they appreciate items that limit the amount of errands they need to run during their stay. Consider additional items like travel-size water bottles, grab-and-go snacks, blank cards for writing “thank you” and “get better soon” notes, and simple toiletries. Additional things guests may appreciation include: offering basic groceries, instant food items (oatmeal, coffee, etc.) and reading materials.

    Many of the families traveling together are spending long hours at a hospital and look forward to coming home at the end of the day to rest and relax together.

    Join a growing community that unlocks the power of sharing during times of need.

    Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.

    Highlights

    • The cost of lodging can put a huge burden on those traveling for medical care

    • The Open Homes program has partnered with trusted nonprofits to provide free, temporary stays for patients seeking care and their families

    Airbnb
    Jul 18, 2019
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