Navigate forward to access suggested results

    How organizations are helping make medical travel possible

    Learn how Airbnb has worked with nonprofits to help people seeking medical care.
    By Airbnb on Oct 11, 2018
    3 min read
    Updated Dec 7, 2020

    Highlights

    • There are many impactful ways to support medical patients and their families throughout their journey with illness

    • Because the cost of lodging often prevents people from traveling for medical treatment, many organizations are working to fix that

    Open Homes is now Airbnb.org

    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.

    It was a stormy night on Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island, when Rali Penchev’s water broke. At seven months into her pregnancy, it was also seven weeks earlier than she’d anticipated going into labor.

    The hospital where she’d planned to deliver—on the island, where she lived with her husband, George—wasn’t equipped to handle premature births. Ravi was taken to the mainland by a ferry and ambulance.

    The couple’s daughter, Zara, was born 10 days later at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Rali was discharged a few days after that, but the baby needed to stay in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). With their home on Martha’s Vineyard nearly 100 miles away, the Penchevs didn’t know what to do.

    “We were worried,” Rali told the Martha’s Vineyard Times. “Technically, we could have come back to the island and just visited Zara once a week. But we couldn’t do that. It’s your baby. You have to see her every day.”

    Enter Hospitality Homes, a Boston-based organization that matches families and caregivers of medical patients with temporary housing. The Penchevs reached out, and—thanks to a partnership with Airbnb—the organization placed them in a nearby home while their daughter remained in the hospital.

    Welcoming patients and families

    Whether traveling for unexpected surgery or a consultation with an out-of-state specialist, the associated cost of lodging often prevents people from accessing critical treatment. There are many great organizations working to fix that.

    In addition to Hospitality Homes, we partnered with the Fisher House Foundation, which serves military and veteran families, and Make-A-Wish® to connect medical patients and families to Airbnb’s community of generous hosts.

    These partners have shown us that there are many impactful ways to support medical patients and their families throughout their journey with illness. Airbnb’s partnership with Make-A-Wish® dates back to 2015, when we began gifting accommodations to families taking respite vacations during and after intensive treatment.

    “We learned quickly through Make-A-Wish® that the power of respite travel is twofold. One, it gave patients something to look forward to, creating a sense of hope and endurance to get healthy enough to take the trip. And perhaps more importantly, we learned the impact of these trips on family dynamics. Families were creating new, positive memories and reconnecting in a way that was difficult within their everyday routines. Partners like Make-A-Wish® have really helped shape how we think about medical housing on Open Homes.” —Laura Ellis, Airbnb social impact manager

    Our relationship with Make-A-Wish® was an early indicator that medical stays go beyond the needs of patients in the midst of treatment. To date, the Airbnb community has helped welcome over 1,000 wish families across the globe—offering them a warm place to call home while they decompress and reconnect 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

    • There are many impactful ways to support medical patients and their families throughout their journey with illness

    • Because the cost of lodging often prevents people from traveling for medical treatment, many organizations are working to fix that

    Airbnb
    Oct 11, 2018
    Was this helpful?