When a car carrying Chris Starrett's wife and daughter collided with a truck last week, Mr. Starrett knew part of that meant they'd all have to spend a lot of time at the hospital.
Despite being from the Bryan, Ohio, area, Mr. Starrett was committed to staying with his family at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, but he knew he might be sleeping on a couch.
But since Monday, Mr. Starrett and his recently discharged wife have a far nicer place to stay as their daughter continues to recover. Patients at Mercy St. Vincent now have access to a "Home Away From Home," a new facility at the hospital designed to house the families of out-of-town patients.
The building features 15 rooms, each with two queen beds and private bathroom, along with a shared kitchen, living room, patio, children's play area, and laundry room.
"It's really set up for extended stays and allowing the family to stay together during that time," said Kevin Cook, president and CEO of Mercy St. Vincent. "It gets patients and families away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the facility. They need some down time."
To qualify for a room, families have to live more than an hour away and usually need to have a patient in critical or otherwise serious condition, said Michelle Isaacs, manager of the new facility.
"They're not a family from just down the street. They're from Tiffin and Defiance and other places," Mr. Cook said.
The hospital offers wait-list priorities for families from extremely far away, like those from out of state, said Ms. Isaacs. The only cost is a suggested $30-a-night donation.
Mr. Cook said the new building's location and quality mark a significant improvement over the old facility that did the same job. "It had reached a point of diminishing returns," he said.
Mr. Starrett also appreciated the location's proximity to his daughter Camie's hospital room. "We can be in her room in five minutes. It's a tremendous blessing," he said.
His daughter's condition also has improved, he said, after being critical in the days after the crash.
The Mercy St. Vincent Foundation organized raising the $1.6 million cost, which was collected from a mix of corporate and private donations, said Ms. Isaacs.
The average family stays for about seven days, said Ms. Isaacs, and the facility is expected to handle more than 500 families a year.
Contact Casey Sumner at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6084.