Hospitals embrace RV living for patients, staff

Some U.S. hospitals are embracing the idea of RV living for patients, families and staff members, providing on-site parking spaces and hookups for the vehicles, CBS News reported July 26.

Experts say the accommodations are improving healthcare access and care experiences for patients who have to drive long distances to hospitals. 

OHSU Hospital in Portland, Ore., has been offering free parking with electrical hookups for RVs since 2009. The average stay for patients in these RV spaces is around seven days, with a maximum limit of 30 days. The accommodation allows patients to stay close to their medical providers and avoid the expense of hotels. 

Bozeman (Mont.) Health formally launched a short-term RV parking program this spring. Patients can reserve a space for free for up to two weeks, avoiding rising hotel fees and low room availability during peak tourist season for Yellowstone National Park.

"We had a couple who came who could not find anywhere to stay in town," Bozeman Health COO Kallie Kujawa, MN, RN, told CBS News. "This was the only place they could find to stay. And that was critical for them."

The amenities are also proving helpful for hospital staff. Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center in Salida, Colo., has a six-spot RV lot with full hookups that hospital employees, including nurses and a part-time general surgeon, sometimes use to avoid long commutes.

"It's been very popular, to say the least," Bob Morasko, the medical center's CEO, told CBS News. "I just know that it works. And it helps us staff the hospital."

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