Cottages 4 Country Care provide home-away-from-home emergency accommodation for country people with severe medical conditions in urgent need of specialist appointments with Adelaide doctors and/or specialists, and access to big city services when needed at short notice.
Country girl, Dianne Farrell, and nine other volunteers are on a mission to help country people with serious health issues to feel right at home in the big smoke during challenging times.
“Cottages 4 Country Care provide accommodation within minutes from Adelaide’s main hospitals,” Ms Farrell told the Truth during her visit to Broken Hill this week.
“Our six delightful cottages each have a name – Rose, Mary, Jane, Dudley, Clary, and Harry – and are beautifully furnished and maintained thanks to the donations from many generous business owners over the last 15 years that we’ve been running, but sadly more cottages are needed as more people from the outback are in need of accommodation while in Adelaide for medical treatment.
“Most people haven’t heard of us because we don’t have enough money to advertise, and we operate completely and totally on volunteers,” said Ms Farrell.
“In 2020, we provided 1450 nights of accommodation and 13 per cent were from the Broken Hill region.
In 2021, we provided 1501 nights and 23 per cent were from the region, but last year we did 1627 nights but only had eight percent from NSW because we were fully booked and had to turn so many people away. We’re in a situation now where we need more cottages, so we have to concede that we need help from the public to continue with our charity work.”
Other medical accommodation services cater specifically to children, or to cancer or leukaemia patients, whereas Cottages 4 Country Care is available for anyone of any age from regional, rural, or remote communities who need to attend specialist appointments or have medical treatment in Adelaide.
“Our cottages are not purpose built unfortunately so don’t have wheelchair access, but they’re all located just minutes from either the Royal Adelaide Hospital or Flinders Medical Centre, and IPTAAS (Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme) can often subsidise their stay,” Ms Farrell said.
When the six cottages are full, Cottages for Country Care reach out to a nearby motel that prioritise two rooms for people in urgent need.
“Adelaide often hosts large events which take up the majority of short-term accommodation options, so we’re coming across more and more people who aren’t able to secure somewhere to stay when desperately needed,” Ms Farrell continued.
“Organisations like Donate Life and rural hospital emergency departments are now reaching out to us to help them find accommodation for people in their care. We just can’t keep up with the demand so we’re trying to bring this together so we can employ someone full time who can help volunteers to expand our service.”
To learn more about IPTAAS, go to: iptaas.health.nsw.gov.au/For-patients
For more information about Cottages 4 Country Care or to donate, visit cottages4countrycare.org.au or call Ms Farrell on 0416 722 870 for a chat.