Post­na­tal care gets a five-star makeover

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Health - Adam Cress­well Health ed­i­tor

ZELINDA Hoyle knows moth­er­hood is no bed of roses, but her third ex­pe­ri­ence of child­birth has at least started off as rather cushy. Mrs Hoyle, 40, re­cently be­came one of the grow­ing num­ber of women who have ended up in the plush sur­round­ings of a five-star ho­tel af­ter giv­ing birth in a private hospi­tal.

Her su­pe­rior king room, on the 41st floor of the Sof­i­tel, on Melbourne’s Collins Street, would nor­mally cost be­tween $300 and $500 a night, de­pend­ing on the sea­son.

But when she checked out a cou­ple of weeks ago, all she had to pay for was a bot­tle of wine from the mini­bar and a room ser­vice meal or­dered for her hus­band. The room charge for her two-night stay, and her own three room ser­vice meals a day were all taken care of by her private health fund, just as if she had cho­sen to stay in hospi­tal.

It’s an ex­cel­lent op­tion — very nur­tur­ing and quiet. It’s a haven, re­ally,’’ said Mrs Hoyle, who gave birth by cae­sarean sec­tion late last month at Frances Perry House, a private hospi­tal that oc­cu­pies the top three floors of Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospi­tal in Carl­ton. Frances Perry House is owned by the Ram­say Health Care group.

There’s a lot of noise in hos­pi­tals, which is stress­ful when you’ve had a new baby — you have clean­ers buzzing in and out all the time.’’

The scheme has al­ready been taken up by cer­tain other private hos­pi­tals in Melbourne and Ade­laide, and some other op­er­a­tors have ex­per­i­mented with sim­i­lar schemes. Syd­ney’s Mater Hospi­tal used to of­fer new moth­ers vouch­ers en­ti­tling them to free nights at the city’s five-star In­terCon­ti­nen­tal Ho­tel if they went home be­fore the stan­dard four or five-night hospi­tal stay. A Mater spokesman said the of­fer, now closed, was be­gun to cope with a pe­riod of high de­mand, al­though it was pos­si­ble it could be brought back.

Mark Page, the CEO of Frances Perry House, said his hospi­tal be­came the first private hospi­tal to start of­fer­ing the ho­tel­stay op­tion just un­der three years ago, and now av­er­aged about six pa­tients a night in the Sof­i­tel. The hospi­tal re­cently sent its 3000th pa­tient through the five-star es­tab­lish­ment.

Nor­mally, women who have an un­com­pli­cated vagi­nal de­liv­ery usu­ally spend four nights af­ter the birth in the hospi­tal, and five nights if the de­liv­ery is by cae­sarean sec­tion.

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