Local and long distance travel
For families living or staying more than the 20-30 minute commute time from CHRMC/SCCA or any out-of-area transplant center, plans will need to be made for transportation. When parent(s) or other caregivers need to trade off time staying with the patient, and when siblings and other relatives are involved, the logistics and expenses can add up quickly. Many families in WA and other areas of the Northwest may choose to drive to Seattle, if this is a choice, for the convenience of having a vehicle available during the stay. In order to prevent your child’s exposure to infections, it may not be possible to travel by general public transportation.
Gas and parking fees over many months can be a major expense. While CHRMC provides free parking for patient families, fees are charged for parking in the SCCA garage as well as at UWMC. Some organizations may offer support available to help cover these costs (see BMT Resources list). Many families will need to come to Seattle by air, and may want to look into renting a car or selecting lodging where van service is available.
Some patient families have chosen to combine housing and transportation and lived in an RV during their stay at the BMT center. This option of course has its own unique pro’s and con’s, but can be worth looking into. Some families have chosen to rent brand-new RVs after arriving for hygienic reasons. On its lodging list for patient families, CHMRC lists two RV parks in proximity to the hospital; it is advised to contact them in advance to check on availability.
When air travel is necessary, families can contact the following organizations specializing in public benefit travel about the possibility of arranging for free and/or low-cost flights:
Angel Flight West
Organization of private pilots of small planes in Western US who donate their services to transport child and family member to/from medical treatment. Patient must reside in service area (includes AK) be able to walk and medical stable to travel on small aircraft, as well as need this service due to financial and/or infection-control reasons. Flight requests must be made at least 1-week in advance. Affiliate of Air Charity Network (formerly Angel Flight America) an umbrella organization of regional groups of small pilots who provide service nationwide.
National Patient Travel Center
Toll-free phone line: 1-800-296-1217
Facilitates patient access to US public-benefit air travel assistance programs, commercial and private; serves as portal and administrator for airline patient ticket programs; facilitates travel programs for disease-specific organizations.
Mercy Medical Airlift
Offers charitable air ambulance service nationwide via donated flights from private pilots.