New Website Launched

16th October 2020

New website for regional families needing city health services

The Friendly Faces Helping Hands Foundation will launch a new website during National Carers Week 11 – 17 October 2020, to support families and carers across regional NSW who need to attend a city hospital for healthcare.

Every year, about 600 rural residents in NSW suffer a serious trauma which requires lengthy hospitalisation in a location far from home.

The website provides individuals and their families / carers with practical information about hospitals, accommodation and support services when they are in a large hospital in an unfamiliar city.

Kelly Foran, Chief Executive Officer at the Friendly Faces Helping Hands Foundation, said people who live in rural, regional and remote NSW face significant challenges when they need urgent care.

“Healthcare emergences are distressing for patients and their families regardless of where they occur, but they pose additional challenges for people who live far away from the major hospitals,” Ms Foran said.

“Knowing where to access parking, cheap eats, supermarkets, accommodation and even hairdressers for people, or their family, who are hospitalised for long periods is crucial to their ability to cope in this overwhelming situation.”

The Foran family used their own experiences of the profound impact that lengthy hospitalisations can cause families to help build the website, which now features local information about 28 major hospitals in NSW and neighbouring states.

“Seventeen years ago, I was transferred to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney for emergency surgery. We had stays in seven hospitals in two states in the following years, and on many occasions we struggled to easily find basic items from supermarkets. We had been paying $17 a day for parking for two years in Brisbane before we found a cheaper parking spot around the corner for $4 – a website packed with local tips to help us navigate city hospitals would have made the ordeal less daunting,” Ms Foran said.

Federal Regional Health Minister and Member for Parkes, Mark Coulton congratulated Ms Foran for her determination through adversity to create Friendly Faces Helping Hands to help other families who find themselves in similar situations.

“For a small organisation. Friendly Faces Helping Hands makes a big difference, and has helped more than 90,000 patients since it began in 2011,” Minister Coulton said.

“Having a family member or friend admitted to a hospital in the city hours away from their home is a stressful time for all involved. This new website provides invaluable help and guidance to make things easier to navigate during these difficult times.”

If you have experienced being in a city hospital or having a family member admitted to hospital far away, you will know how important a service like this is. This website provides the kind of invaluable help you never know you need until you find yourself in the middle of a situation like this.

The website and hotline phone support are designed as a centralised ‘go to’ place for rural patients and their families to access practical information, including local support networks, social workers and counsellors, to make a trying time easier. This website will help to minimise the overwhelming feelings of isolation and give people the power of information in difficult times.