The Heartfelt House on PeaceHealth’s RiverBend campus provides “home away from home” for out-of-town families.
By Sherri Buri McDonald
The Heartfelt House on PeaceHealth’s RiverBend campus provides “home away from home” for out-of-town families. The Heartfelt House, PeaceHealth’s new patient family guest house in Springfield, welcomed its first families on Sept. 10.
The 20-room guest house is a tremendous new resource for southern Oregon families who are traveling to the Eugene-Springfield area to be near loved ones receiving care at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield or University District in Eugene.
“This beautiful, welcoming home provides a place of comfort and healing for families who are facing trying times—the new parents of a fragile infant in our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the grief-stricken loved ones of a trauma patient and sometimes patients themselves, who need a good night’s rest before an early morning surgery or have traveled here for outpatient treatments unavailable in their community,” said Mary Kingston, chief executive of PeaceHealth Oregon network.
The 20,200-square-foot, single-level guest house is just a five-minute walk away from Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend. It offers family members of both adult and pediatric patients a no-cost “home away from home,” with spacious private rooms, kitchen and dining areas, laundry facilities and places to relax both indoors and outdoors.
After touring the Heartfelt House at an opening celebration earlier this month, Sutherlin resident Heather Swesso said the house is amazing and will make life so much easier for families with a loved one in the hospital.
“It’s going to be a stress off them,” she said. “They don’t have to travel back and forth. They have a place to stay. They can get a good night’s rest. They can take a nap when things get overwhelming—and things do get overwhelming.”
Swesso knows this first-hand. Both of her daughters were born prematurely, requiring stays in RiverBend’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Her youngest, Paisley, born at 30 weeks, spent 78 days in the NICU after her birth in January 2016.
Swesso said she was lucky to be able to stay at her aunt’s house in Springfield during that time. But even the short drive from her aunt’s house to the hospital felt like an eternity for the new mom eager to check on her fragile newborn.
The Heartfelt House, designed by the Eugene-based architecture firm 2fORM, has two wings of 10 guest suites on either side of a great room, whose central feature is a large stone fireplace. Each wing has its own kitchen, dining room, lounges and laundry facilities.
One wing is for families of pediatric patients and the other is for families of adult patients—an innovative design among similar guest houses throughout the country.
PeaceHealth owns the Heartfelt House—an $8.4 million project funded through the generosity of more than 600 donors. Within the Heartfelt House, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon & SW Washington operates its fourth Ronald McDonald House for pediatric patients in Oregon. It is Oregon’s first Ronald McDonald House outside of Portland and Bend.
“We’re thrilled to be opening another house to serve even more children and families in Oregon,” said Jessica Jarratt Miller, chief executive officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon & SW Washington.
PeaceHealth contracts with Ronald McDonald House Charities to also oversee day-to day operations of the adult wing.
The Heartfelt House replaces the former Children’s Miracle Network/Lions Patient Family Guest House on Patterson Street near the University District campus in Eugene. PeaceHealth’s behavioral health program is working to convert that home into temporary housing.
All first-time guests to the Heartfelt House require a referral from a hospital social worker. Families of patients who are being discharged from Sacred Heart Medical Center may ask the social worker on their unit about staying at the Heartfelt House. Social workers at out-of-area hospitals, or families themselves, may request a room by contacting PeaceHealth Care Management.
Sherri Buri McDonald | Communications Specialist | Strategic Communications & Engagement
PeaceHealth | 770 E. 11th Avenue | Eugene, OR 97401