VA hospital to open 'home away from home' for patients' loved ones

[aesop_image imgwidth=”500px” img=”http://www.signaltribunenewspaper.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Screen-Shot-2016-11-03-at-3.55.06-PM.png” credit=”Photos by Amy Patton | Signal Tribune” align=”left” lightbox=”on” caption=”A custom 16-unit home, the Fisher House will be available for families of veterans to stay in while their loved ones receive care at the Long Beach Veterans Administration Medical Center.” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off”] [aesop_character name=”Amy Patton” caption=”Designer” align=”right” force_circle=”off”] Figuring out where to stay while a loved one is receiving care at the the Long Beach Veterans Administration Medical Center is now one less thing to worry about.
The Fisher House of Long Beach (located on VA hospital grounds) plans to open its doors in early November for families to stay in while their veterans undergo care at the hospital facilities.
“The VA is extremely limited by law for what we can do for the family,” said Richard Beam, the director of Community Relations for the Long Beach VA hospital. “Having the [Fisher] house is something physical we can do for the families. They pay a significant price but rarely get the benefits or support. They too are a part of the solution and recovery for vets and need to respected and cared for.”
A national organization, the Fisher House Foundation donates “comfort homes” to major military stations and VA medical centers for families and loved ones of veterans to stay in for free while said veterans receives medical care.
Nationally, there are 65 Fisher houses on 24 “major military installations” and 24 houses on VA medical grounds that serve over 25,000 families annually, according to the Fisher House website.
“Less than 7 percent of American citizens are veterans, and so it is our duty as a nation to take care of that small percentage that has already given so much to us as a country,” said Fisher House Southern California, Inc. President Steve Kuykendall.
Fisher House Southern California, Inc. is a nonprofit that works with the national Fisher House Foundation and other organizations to support and fundraise for Fisher houses in the area, and it is responsible for half the funds that were raised for the Long Beach Fisher House— about $3 million. The national counterpart matched the other half.
“This is a beautiful custom home,” Kuykendall said. “It’s equipped with high-end appliances and furnishings. It’s so different than what people think of government facilities.”
The home can lodge up to 16 families at a time. The VA selects the families with an “as needed” basis, with a “rough guideline,” (particularly, distance traveled for treatment), Kuykendall said.
The Fisher house features a common kitchen, dining room, laundry room and a living room with a library and toys for the children, according to the Fisher House Foundation website. Kuykendall also added that Fisher House Southern California, Inc. donated laptops for guests to use while staying there.
Those interested in more information on volunteering or donations can contact Fisher House Southern California, Inc. President Steve Kuykendall at fisherhousesocal.com or Richard Beam, the director of Community Relations for the VA hospital, at richard.beam@va.gov.

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