Fight Cancer Foundation's Albury accommodation centre, Hilltop, provides a comfortable, affordable home away from home for people who need to travel to receive treatment for cancer at the new Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre.
Located on the grounds of Albury Base Hospital, Hilltop provides motel-style accommodation for up to 20 patients and their families or carers each night. Communal areas help foster a community atmosphere which provides additional support to guests.
At the request of 2016 Dry July participant, Scott Davis, funding from Dry July is sought to support Hilltop to continue to provide low-cost accommodation to cancer patients from rural and regional Victoria and New South Wales receiving treatment in Albury.
Scott participated in Dry July in honour of a friend who is currently undergoing treatment at Albury Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre and who regularly stays at Hilltop. Scott requested Fight Cancer Foundation apply for the funds he raised to be able to support his friend and people like her during their fight against cancer. Opened in 2013, Hilltop provides low or no-cost short and long-term accommodation to rural and regional families, removing the additional stress of finding accommodation close to the hospital and the financial burden of an uncertain income. Guests who qualify for the Patient Travel Assistance Scheme (PTAS) are not generally out-of-pocket for accommodation at Hilltop, while $52 per night is charged for guest who are ineligible (with an average Albury hotel price of $130).
They style of accommodation is family centred and enables family and/or carers to support the patient throughout treatment, which research finds aids in recovery. Additionally, Hilltop encourages community through ‘The Hub’ meeting area, dining, lounge, barbecue, children's play and laundry areas, as well as acts as a central point for community groups and other local cancer services, including the McGrath Foundation and hospital services.
Providing sustainable accommodation close to the Regional Cancer Centre is in the interests of the hospital and patients, ensuring the increasing need for this type of accommodation is met for people living with cancer and their families in the years ahead.