July 24, 2019

Grand opening of emergency accommodation for patient families

This morning, Northern Health Foundation hosted the grand opening of the emergency accommodation for families of patients who travel long distances to visit loved ones receiving care at Northern Hospital Epping.

The three bedroom house in Wollert is fully equipped with amenities and items for families to feel comfortable during their stay, with no direct cost to the families of patients.

Northern Health Board Chair, Jennifer Williams, officially opened the property and told guests, “This accommodation aims to lessen the burden on the families of patients in our care by providing a home near the hospital.”

“A key priority is to support families from rural or regional Victoria who are visiting loved ones,” she added.

Over 1,000 patients travel in excess of 80 kilometres per year to seek treatment at Northern Hospital Epping. To care for their loved ones, families of patients need to follow them to hospital, leaving for Melbourne often on short notice, and needing to find accommodation in unfamiliar surroundings during what is already a highly stressful time.

Northern Health Chief Executive, Siva Sivarajah, said, “We understand how difficult it can be for families when their loved ones are in hospital. Our new accommodation will provide much needed relief and support for families travelling from rural areas, keeping them closer to their loved ones in their time of need.”

“Thank you to our very generous donors who have helped us see this vision become a reality.”

The house is part of the Foundation’s 2017 Accommodation Relief Appeal, which was made possible by Northern Health patron and philanthropist, Paul Wheelton, as well as JT Reid Charitable Trust and Collier Charitable Foundation.

Paul Wheelton’s son, Matthew, and daughter Amy, (pictured above) attended the opening on his behalf and were pleased to see their father’s vision come to life.

The project has also been made possible by generous corporate supporters, philanthropic trusts, donors and the northern community, and will provide much needed accommodation to the families of Northern Health patients when they need it the most.

Left to right: Bev Carman (Northern Health Foundation Patron), Matthew Wheelton, Jennifer Williams (Northern Health Board Chair), Peter McWilliam (Northern Health Foundation Board Member), Amy Dillon, Josie Minniti (Northern Health Foundation Patron)

Featured Image (left to right): Jennifer Williams (Northern Health Board Chair), Amy Dillon and Matthew Wheelton