2019 has certainly been an up and down year for Fiona and Steve*. For most of their married life, Fiona and Steve have lived in Gladstone, a six hour drive north of Brisbane. “The years seem to have flown by” said Fiona. She continued “We moved from Victoria to Gladstone to start our own business in the early ‘90s. During this time, we also raised our boys Jake and Ben. That always kept us busy!”. Steve continued “… the time flies…. the boys have left home now, but we are still really busy with the business”.
This year the couple planned a very special trip away to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. “We’ve haven’t been on a proper holiday for years. We thought of a few options and then decided on the trip of a lifetime to America” shared Steve. Fiona added “we were really excited… and it all took a lot of planning to ensure the business was covered while we were away”.
However, just two weeks before they were due to leave, Fiona experienced severe stomach pains and visited her local GP. “It was excruciating pain, but still, I wasn’t too concerned at that stage” shared Fiona. “I just thought it was something pretty minor” she continued. After multiple tests and scans at the local hospital, Fiona was quickly referred to Brisbane for specialist medical care. “The specialist’s receptionist called me on my mobile. I vividly recall it was a Tuesday afternoon. She explained there had been a cancellation in theatre and asked if I could be in Brisbane on the Thursday morning” said Fiona.
Finding accommodation near hospital
“Everything was happening so quickly” shared Steve. “Fiona called me at the office, she was so upset. She told me we needed to drive to Brisbane the following day. It is a six-hour trip from here and we needed to be there the night before” said Steve. “I drove straight home, made Fiona a cuppa and tried to figure out what to do next” said Steve. Fiona added “I think it was so stressful because everything was happening so quickly. I didn’t know what was wrong. I guess you start to assume the worst”. Then, Steve recalled his sister telling him about MediStays.
“I knew Karen (Steve’s sister) had used MediStays last year. So, I googled it, filled out the accommodation assistance form. We went from there” said Steve. “We hadn’t been to Brisbane for a while and things change pretty quickly down there. Without MediStays, I didn’t know where to begin. Especially when we needed accommodation so quickly” Fiona shared.
“MediStays were amazing. They helped us find a range of accommodation near the hospital” said Fiona. “Straight away it provided us with such peace of mind. We chose a great apartment close to the hospital and MediStays helped us to book with discounted rates” added Steve. “We have always been so healthy and hadn’t budgeted for all the costs of being sick, it adds up pretty quickly. The apartment partnered with MediStays to provide discounted rates for patients. This saved us hundreds of dollars” said Fiona.
Fiona – finding accommodation near the hospital
“Without MediStays, I didn’t know where to begin. Especially when we needed accommodation so quickly ”
The QLD Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme PTSS
“Linking us in with the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme (PTSS) was also a huge help” said Fiona. She continued “We hadn’t heard about the Government support, but because I needed to see a medical specialist and we were travelling from Gladstone (approx. 550km) we got the accommodation and petrol subsidies”. Steve added “Yeah…. we got about $120 back for the nights we were both in the apartment and an extra $60 each night when Fiona was in hospital”. “MediStays gave us the info about PTSS and we contacted our local health service in Gladstone. The lady there was really helpful and the property bulk-billed them directly” said Steve.
Fortunately, everything went smoothly once Fiona saw her specialist in Brisbane. “The surgeon was wonderful. He explained everything very clearly and I was really lucky to access excellent care so quickly” said Fiona. “MediStays was such a huge help to us too” added Steve. “You just can’t imagine how stressful things get until one of you is sick. Then, when you’re faced with driving all the way to the city, the stress just multiplies.” He continued “MediStays is such an important service for country people. I didn’t want to search for accommodation on a holiday website, we weren’t going on holiday! And, we felt really comfortable asking MediStays for the particular things we needed.” “Yes, for example I needed a walk-in shower after my operation. MediStays fully understood without having to ask further information and found accommodation to suit. They really understand the needs of people travelling for medical care” said Fiona.
Steve – reflecting on travelling for medical care
“You just can’t imagine how stressful things get until one of you is sick. Then, when you’re faced with driving all the way to the city, the stress just multiplies.”
Now that the couple are back home, they are so grateful for good health. “It took me a while to get over mucking up our plans for the holiday” said Fiona. She added “…being healthy again definitely puts everything in perspective though. We have rebooked our trip and keep our fingers crossed that everything goes to plan this time!”
If you or a loved one need to travel for medical care, let us know your requirements at MediStays Accommodation Assistance.
For further information about the Queensland Government Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme, click here.
*Names changed for privacy
Images courtesy Unsplash