December 12, 2003

Hospital Hospitality House re-opens after $1.2 million addition

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Dr. Eric Sumner

Hospital Hospitality House re-opens after $1.2 million addition

For nearly 30 years, the Hospital Hospitality House has provided more than 350,000 overnight stays for out-of-town guests from every state in the U.S. and 37 countries while seeking treatment in local hospitals.

But last fall, the facility closed for construction of a new $1.2 million guest residence. During that time families sought refuge in waiting rooms or were forced to drive back home, leaving loved ones behind.

It was very reminiscent of the pre-Hospital Hospitality House era, say its founders. But with the re-opening of the new facility, families once again can call the Hospital Hospitality House a “home away from home.”

“One of the most important ingredients in healing is support,” said Mickey Beazley, a founding member of the facility. “This has been a really thrilling experience to see our dream expand and know it will continue to help people.”

Beazley, along with her sister-in-law Ann Krenson, founded Hospital Hospitality House after Beazley’s then 17-year-old son suffered life-threatening injuries from a car wreck. The pair spent six months in waiting rooms. They witnessed others sleeping on benches, in cars and washing clothes in public restrooms. They knew something had to be done.

In 1974 the first Hospital Hospitality House was started and has served as a model for other programs nationwide. But the building, with dormitory-style accommodations, needed an update.

Now through a collaborative campaign with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, a 6,000-square-foot residential facility stands in its place at 214 Reidhurst. Twenty guests can stay in 10 rooms, with twin beds and private baths. Other features include a large kitchen and lounge areas. The change in lodging style will allow privacy for the sickest patients needing specialized recovery time.

“Vanderbilt is very pleased to participate in this mission for the medical community and the community at large,” said Dr. C. Wright Pinson, chief medical officer, associate vice chancellor for Clinical Affairs and director of the Transplant Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“There is a shortage of affordable housing for patients and their families who receive care at Nashville hospitals. Besides their health concerns, patients have a real concern about their family’s well being. We in the medical community have an obligation to help meet those needs.

“Hospital Hospitality House has done a great job of looking at the needs and making it a reality. I’m glad Vanderbilt stepped up to the plate to assist with this project. We have no shortage of patients. We hope to continue working together in the future to meet these needs.”

The project also included renovations to an adjacent 1,500 square-foot building that will house administrative offices and day services.

Hospital Hospitality House expects to open its doors for overnight stays beginning again in January.