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Navigating Your NICU Stay: A Guide to Temporary Housing Options

Jun 5, 2024

When your newborn is admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the last thing you need is the added stress of a long commute. 

Finding comfortable and convenient temporary housing near the hospital can be a game-changer, reducing the strain of daily travel.  

Whether you live far away or a long commute adds to the daily stress, this guide explores various temporary housing options during a NICU stay.

Understanding Your Options

  1. Hospital-Provided Accommodations Many hospitals offer in-house options, ranging from a cot by your baby’s bedside to dedicated parent sleeping rooms for critical care cases. These options are typically free or have minimal costs. Check with your NICU nurses or social worker to learn more about availability and guidelines.
  2. Ronald McDonald House and Similar Facilities For families living more than a certain distance from the hospital, Ronald McDonald Houses provide a comfortable and low-cost alternative to hotels. These facilities provide private bedrooms, shared kitchens, laundry facilities, and sometimes even activities for siblings, fostering a supportive community for families on similar journeys.  Availability can be limited, so contact them or ask your social worker to contact them on yoru behalf as early as you’re able to get on the waiting list.
  3. Short-term Rental Platforms Platforms like Airbnb and VRBO offer short-term rental options that can be tailored to the length of your stay. These accommodations often provide a more home-like environment. Some listings may even offer medical stay discounts, so inquire about extended booking reductions.
  4. Mid-Term Rental Options For mid-term stays, consider services like Landing or Furnished Finder.  These platforms offer fully furnished apartments with flexible lease terms, often including utilities and Wi-Fi. This option is ideal for families needing a more home-like solution.
  5. Long-term Stay Hotels Hotel chains such as Homewood Suites and Residence Inn are designed for longer stays. These hotels typically offer in-room kitchens, laundry facilities, and sometimes even a shuttle service to local hospitals. Contact the hotel directly to inquire about medical rates or extended stay discounts, which can provide significant savings over time.

Tips for Managing Your Stay

Consult Your Insurance 

Some insurance plans may cover lodging costs if the hospital is far from home. Before booking, verify any accommodation coverage under your policy.

Seek Assistance 

Don’t hesitate to ask the hospital’s social services department for help. Social workers can provide valuable resources and may assist with bookings and financial aid applications.

Explore Local Community Resources

Local charities, churches, or community groups might offer housing aid or resources for families facing medical crises. Sometimes these organizations can provide not just accommodation but also support in the form of meals, transportation, and emotional support groups.

Ask About Sibling Care Programs

Managing other children while supporting your NICU baby can be overwhelming. Some hospitals or nearby charities might have sibling care programs or play areas to keep your other children engaged and cared for while you are with your newborn.

Check for Hidden Costs

When booking accommodations, whether it’s a short-term rental or a hotel, ask about hidden costs such as parking fees, Wi-Fi charges, or extra person fees. Knowing these costs upfront can help you budget more effectively and avoid surprises.

A Final Note

A NICU stay is a challenging experience.  Having a temporary haven can alleviate some of the logistical burdens. 

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.  Tailor your temporary housing to your specific circumstances for the best possible support during this NICU journey.


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