Postnatal care gets a five-star makeover
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.