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Hospitals now offering concierge service

July 31, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
It's a new trend in medicine that can help take some of the worry out of a hospital stay. It's not easy to have to rely on friends and family to take care of all your needs, so some medical centers are offering its patients concierge service.A life threatening illness recently put Orange County resident Caroline Reynolds in the hospital. She's okay now, but she swears she recovered sooner because Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo offered her concierge service.

"It took a real weight off me because I was starting to think, you know 'What friend could I call to do this? What friend could I call to get to do that?'" said Reynolds.

She leaned on the concierge to do all sorts of things, from writing a letter to her insurer, to moving her car that was left in a lot when she was rushed to the hospital.

"She actually got my key, went and moved the car and took it back to my home," said Reynolds.

Concierge duties run the gamut, from picking up a meal from an outside restaurant to arranging for pet care while you're gone. But Mission Hospital isn't the only medical center one offering this kind of assistance.

"This type of service is a national trend for hospitals," said Cindy Mueller, Mission Hospital.

The service is free except for a small fee for mileage beyond 10 miles. In some hospitals, the staff can also use the concierge, while others make it only available to patients and their families.

"It allows the families of the patients to be able to stay with the patients instead of having to go and running their errands for them," said Mirt Parkhill, Best Upon Request Concierge.

Best Upon Request Concierge, a Cincinnati based company, has contracts with medical facilities across the country.

While other hospitals hire their own employees to perform concierge services. Caroline says having this kind of "extra" care made all the difference in getting her healed quicker.

"When you feel so helpless in the hospital, and you are actually helpless in the outside world, it makes a huge difference to have someone there to do those things for you," said Reynolds.

And one of the most common requests to concierge service? Filling prescriptions for patients before they leave the hospital.

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