Just Like Home: Keeping Families Together When They Need It Most


The Just Like Home Lodge will benefit families like David’s © Courtesy of Campbell River Hospital Foundation

Imagine your loved one needing vital medical care, life-saving surgery, or cancer care. Now imagine driving more than 200 km to access that care. That is the reality for families from North Vancouver Island and the Central Coast of B.C., who must travel four hours or more to receive medical care at Campbell River Hospital.

During moments of crisis, this travel time, combined with finding appropriate accommodation near the hospital, can contribute to increased emotional and economic stress for both patients and their families. For Hiltje and her husband David, these stressors made an already difficult situation even more complicated.

“It is part of living in the North Island; you have those challenges every time you leave town for a medical situation,” explained Hiltje. “The worst thing is when someone you love is in a critical state, and your mind is all over the place, and then you have to deal with logistical things, like where to stay, what to eat, how to pay for it all. The hotel bills started racking up.”

Campbell River Hospital serves 32 communities and is the first referral point for emergencies and illnesses, including industrial and workplace accidents, heart attacks, strokes, respiratory problems and other diseases.

The trips to the hospital, while vital, can place an immense financial and emotional strain on families, from the cost of travelling back and forth to finding appropriate accommodations. The Just Like Home Lodge is a 10-bedroom safe haven for patients and loved ones who have to travel to Campbell River for specialized care or procedures that are unavailable in their home communities. The lodge makes it possible for families to be near their loved ones without the added stress that comes with seeking out a place to stay and would have made all the difference in the world for Hiltje and David.

© Courtesy of Campbell River Hospital Foundation

“When David’s chemotherapy started, so did the trips back and forth to the hospital,” Hiltje continued. “Any hotel will tell you that you can’t check in before 3 p.m. and you have to check out by 11 the next morning. Booking a hotel for one night depends when your procedure is. Sometimes to save a little money, you take the chance of driving all the way back here. That can be so dangerous, especially in the wintertime. There were times when David was hospitalized that I just had to leave him there because I couldn’t afford to stay one more day in a hotel.”

Daily travel needs and associated costs experienced by patients and their loved ones seeking medical care at the Campbell River Hospital can be significantly reduced. The lodge will feature separate sleeping rooms with private washrooms, a communal living space, a shared kitchen and laundry facilities.

“What you guys are doing to create a place for North Island people to stay at while they are getting treatment at Campbell River, it would have meant a lot to David,” Hiltje said. “ Another place to call home instead of a hotel room. There’s a lot of people who are going to be happy.”

About Campbell River Hospital Foundation

The Campbell River Hospital Foundation is a team of professional staff and community-minded leaders who are passionately committed to inspiring, enabling and celebrating community support for Campbell River Hospital. With your support, we can help ensure that our doctors, nurses, and other critical healthcare team members have the necessary tools and equipment so you and your loved ones continue to receive first-class healthcare right here at home. With your help, we can help keep families close when it matters most.

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The Campbell River Hospital Foundation is a registered charity dedicated to raising funds to support our hospital and Yucalta Lodge through equipment purchase, staff education and special projects that help enhance the service and treatment of patients and residents.


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