Healthcare can be so complicated, but something as simple as a house can make such a difference in thousands of lives. The KDMC Hospitality House serves as a “home away from home” for many dealing with illness and stress.
Nearly 7,000 guests from 38 states and two additional countries have been cared for by the staff and volunteers during its four years of service -- the KDMC Hospitality House celebrated its fourth anniversary in June. It accommodated 1,911 guests in 2008.
The Hospitality House provides families a warm, inviting place to stay while their loved ones are hospitalized. The 12,000-square-foot residence features 13 guest rooms with private baths, as well as a common kitchen, dining area, a living room and laundry facilities. Although meals are not provided, the kitchen is fully equipped and typically stocked with snacks.
“We were very blessed to find the ‘friends’ that we did at the Hospitality House. No nicer people could be found anywhere. My husband had one less thing to worry about. He knew we were close.”
- Hospitality House guest
Families who live outside the Ashland community (usually a 30-mile radius) with limited resources (financial, transportation, family support) who have a loved one in critical care, or qualifying outpatients receiving extended therapeutic care are referred by KDMC social workers as eligible.
“Excellent service and staff. A heartfelt THANKS to the local churches and organizations for assisting in meeting other needs of the guests.”
Community volunteers, coordinated by KDMC’s Volunteer Services department, are needed to operate the Hospitality House seven days a week, both day and evening shifts. “These volunteers are truly necessary to keep the house operating, and neat and clean,” said Jane Blankenship, KDMC’s director overseeing the Hospitality House.
Since these guests are not from our area, they often simply need directions to a pharmacy, where to cash a check, or just someone to talk to and share their story with. “Some of our volunteers prefer to register the guests; others like to keep the refrigerators clean. Each has a niche and it works for us,” Blankenship said.
“You made a situation that was stressful much better to deal with. I felt true concern and compassion there. Thank you.”
It takes a community to operate a great Hospitality House. A number of civic groups, churches and school organizations provide on a regular basis food items, laundry items, paper products, while others volunteer their time. It began when the KDMC Auxiliary, the largest donor, committed a generous amount of funds to get the house built. “Because of this commitment, the medical center was able to move forward with the project,” Blankenship said. Through continued support from the Auxiliary and community donations and fundraisers, the Hospitality House continues to serve those in need of a “home away from home” during some of their toughest times. Donations are accepted from guests, but not required.
“I felt so blessed. When I came in to the room and saw such a thick and comfortable mattress and pillow, I knelt down and thanked God for his goodness to me.”
The Hospitality House is located at 2221 Central Ave., Ashland, and volunteer staff may be contacted by calling 606.408.7730.
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