Saturday, November 7, 2009

When a social worker says “very sick”…it’s critical!

Oct 30 The social worker said, “The wife of a very sick fellow in neuro-intensive has been in hospitality house (HH) for a few days, and simply can’t afford the fee for the extra days. She feels she needs to be near her husband. With his condition, it would really be a relief if she could remain for the week, perhaps six days. She’s about 150 miles from home. Can you assist?”

I suppose one could review this situation and without further info, consider suggesting a return home and return later, but quite literally a round trip home one time by car would entail a gas cost of about $40. When there is room in the hospitality house, that’s four(4) nights to stay and monitor a loved one. It’s a no-brainer to stay if $40 is available to assist.

In addition, one needs to know some of every back story to realize why running back and forth simply is not affordable in so many cases. For one thing, the patient in this case is “very sick.” He is now without work while being treated in intensive care at the hospital. He is the only person employed in the family. This is not a family with savings to run home and back. Indeed, it has been clarified that the wife has already reached her limits for staying in a $10 per night room. Perhaps she needs that amount daily just to eat. The balancing act can be extremely stressful on a family member whose other half is fighting for life just across the street.

If the hospitality house had been filled, and no available beds for the next few days, then this same situation would necessarily be limited to placement in a commercial hotel room for about $50 per night, and that stay would have to be limited to about 2-4 days. As you can readily see, the situation for funding becomes critical when space at HH is simply not available.

Families in such stress do have to make a plan with other family members or friends in these situations, especially if the patient remains for an extended time. But, as we have experienced, sometimes there is no one else to assist, while the waiting becomes excruciating. IHS is providing that extra measure of relief and a treasured measure of time.

When you’ve read the “vision” statement on the website, you will understand why the idea of a large farm house to be able to provide some extra flexibility and access to a kitchen with nutritious meals has to remain an active goal. A house with six rooms initially, then fifteen, then who knows. But consider that HH only has 31 rooms. Fifteen more rooms at a location which can expand would provide for an increase in space of fifty percent. That’s a huge increase. Next year we will pursue ideas of how to realize that goal…but for now we are using every penny to secure nightly sleeping arrangements as requested by the UVA Social Worker staff.

This holiday season please squeeze us on your gift list … and then think of us monthly. October has been the busiest month for needing our assistance. The winter months are the tough ones. We could really use your contribution. Allow us to remove some of the stress so that another family member can bring comfort and security when it is needed the most.

Blessings…T. Wade and Elisheva