PATIENTS and families travelling to Bendigo Health for medical treatment have additional accommodation options, as the health care group embraces its role within the broader region.
The former Alexander Bayne Centre, in North Bendigo, seemed doomed to demolition once closed for use as a mental health facility.
Instead, it was transformed into low-cost, short-term accommodation for Bendigo Health patients and families from regional areas.
Bendigo Bank House aims to enable patients and families to stay close to the hospital during specialised treatments that usually take place over a number of days.
The 15-suite facility officially opened today, with the first guests expected in the next month.
The Bendigo Bank House boasts seven suites and eight one-bedroom studio rooms.
Wonderful achievement for @Bendigo_health & the wider community with the opening of Bendigo Bank House. This new facility will provide affordable accommodation for regional patients & their families who are away from home during treatment. https://t.co/HQhcqilxO1pic.twitter.com/tjOPp9qbB9— Bendigo Bank (@bendigobank) July 24, 2018
Suites range from one to three bedrooms and have kitchens.
Common areas in the house include a lounge, laundry, library, a kitchen, and a shared workspace with office services.
“For many regional patients travelling to Bendigo, finding and paying for accommodation during an already emotional time can take its toll,” Bendigo Health chair, Bob Cameron said.
“Staying somewhere comfortable and familiar with family and friends can make a challenging time a lot more bearable.
“Bendigo Bank House is a wonderful partnership bringing together multiple regional communities to further improve the excellent care Bendigo Health provides to the Loddon Valley.”
Affordable patient accommodation was identified as a need for the state’s largest regional hospital development, with limited offerings previously available.
The number of patients travelling to Bendigo for medical treatment is rising.
Bendigo Health recorded a 22 per cent increase in patients from outside Bendigo in the past three years, 14,460 of which attended in the past financial year
The health care group services a quarter of the state – an area from Kyneton to Mildura.
Bendigo Bank has invested more than $200,000 in the project, which was completed in partnership with the health care group, Spotless, Exemplar Health and Gouge.
Today, we joined with @bendigobank to open Bendigo Bank House. This new facility will provide much needed accommodation for rural ppl travelling to Bendigo Hospital for treatment, including families. It means one less thing to worry about at what can be a stressful time. pic.twitter.com/Zm8goddhbb— CSBanking (@CSBanking) July 24, 2018
Rooms in the house bear the names of regional Bendigo Bank or Community Bank branches that provided funding, including Inglewood, Heathcote, Rushworth, Donald, Elmore/Lockington/Rochester, Kyneton, Cohuna, Swan Hill, Kerang, Mildura, Castlemaine, Echuca and Deniliquin.
“All of us at Bendigo Bank are proud to support this important community initiative for regional Victoria,” Bendigo and Adelaide Bank chair, Robert Johanson said.
“Backing projects important to Australian communities is critical to our success and goes back to the principles that were established by our founders 160 years ago.”
Requests for accommodation will be ‘means tested’.
The Bendigo Advertiser understands patients and families travelling 100 kilometres or more for treatment or to support a loved one will be prioritised.
For more information or to support the project, visit www.bendigobankhouse.com.au.
Have your say: Do you have something to say about the new Bendigo Bank House? Send us a letter to the editor at bendigoadvertiser.com.au. All letters must include name, address and telephone number.