September 15, 2000

Campaign under way to expand Hospital Hospitality House for transplant families

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An artist’s renderering of an expansion of the Hospital Hospitality House, a “home away from home” for families and patients.

Campaign under way to expand Hospital Hospitality House for transplant families

The Vanderbilt Transplant Center and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center will kickoff a capital campaign this fall to raise funds for a 46-unit, $2.5 million housing facility to serve transplant patients and their families.

The Transplant Center, in collaboration with Hospital Hospitality House, will build a new four-level building and support renovation and expansion of the existing structure located on Reidhurst Avenue to increase the availability of rooms and services for patients throughout the Midstate.

“The people at the Hospital Hospitality House have been providing facilities for more than 25 years and have a great track record,” says Dr. C. Wright Pinson, professor of Surgery and surgical director of the Vanderbilt Transplant Center.

Pinson applauded the rich and successful history of the organization that provides affordable overnight accommodations and other support services for patients and their families. The Nashville location was the first of its kind in the nation and became a model for other facilities.

“They provide much more than just a place to stay,” he says. “They provide a physical and emotional support system away from home. If we were trying to create this type of project successfully from scratch, we would want to develop a culture just like the one already in place at the Hospital Hospitality House.”

Organizers of the two institutions say the increased need for outpatient care has prompted the expansion of the facility. Although the facility houses a large portion of Vanderbilt’s patient/families, it will continue to be available and used by any patient, no matter the hospital affiliation, seeking respite in the Nashville area.

Construction is expected to begin later this year, according to the executive director of the facility, Vickie Ballance. Architect Michael Marzialo has begun preliminary designs. Hospital Hospitality House, also in the fund-raising mode, has set a $1.5 million goal for it’s capital campaign.

The new facility, expected to be completed by late summer 2001, will serve patients ages 12 and older. Housing will consist of private rooms and suites. By the end of construction, capacity will increase by 50 percent. Kitchen, dining, laundry and lounging facilities will also be renovated. Families will also be able to take advantage of the “day use” feature of the facility that provides at no charge the use of the on-site services.

Hospital Hospitality House has a long history of serving patients worldwide. Since opening in 1974, the organization has been “home” to more than 300,000 people including folks from every county in Tennessee, every state in the U.S. and approximately 37 foreign countries.

Payment for lodging at the present facility is based on a sliding-fee scale, a feature Vanderbilt found very appealing.

“Our transplant programs require that most patients remain in the immediate Vanderbilt area for a period of 1-4 months post transplant for daily and weekly visits to assess their progress,” says Yvonne Moneypenny, administrator of the Transplant Center.

“There are hotels nearby, but even with discounted rates, this is an incredible burden on the patient and family in addition to their medical costs associated with hospitalization, medications, meals, laundry as well as maintaining their expenses back home.”

The facility will allow Vanderbilt-Ingram’s Stem Cell Transplant Program to begin offering transplant to select patients on an outpatient basis, says Dr. Friedrich Schuening, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and director of Vanderbilt-Ingram’s Stem Cell Transplant Program.

“This facility will provide the nearby housing that is essential for us to begin outpatient stem cell transplants,” says Schuening.

Such an approach can reduce costs of transplantation as well as be more comfortable for patients and their families, he adds.

Pinson will chair the Transplant Center’s capital campaign, which has already garnered a significant amount of community and patient support, says Moneypenny.

“Nashville continues to grow as a medical Mecca in the Southeast,” says Ballance. “As this area expands its offerings of the newest technology and procedures, there is a growing need for these services to be offered on an outpatient basis. The piece that is missing is medical housing. Vanderbilt has stepped up to the challenge of providing that missing link.”

Hospital Hospitality House provides lodging and food for about 30 guests a day. Many times, they must turn people away due to lack of space.

“So many of the hospitals in the area need a place for patients and families to stay,” says Ballance. “We are very excited that Vanderbilt is supporting our organization in this way to benefit all of Nashville.”