The Hospitality Center at Kootenai Health is now complete and will begin serving patients and families in August. The Hospitality Center was inspired by a shared desire between Kootenai Health, Community Cancer Fund and Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Inland Northwest to ensure access to care and provide outstanding support services for patients and families from around the region. It will provide overnight accommodations that are low cost for adults and free for pediatric patients and their families accessing services at Kootenai.
“A cancer diagnosis is devastating to a family for so many reasons,” explained Jerid Keefer, co-founder of Community Cancer Fund. “Our goal is to help patients and their families focus on getting better, not worrying about how to pay for lodging during treatment. The hospitality center will help by providing patients and families across the region a comfortable, affordable place to stay while they are receiving care at Kootenai Health.”
Kootenai Health has experienced significant growth over the past five years, attracting patients from around the region with increasingly complex needs. One-third of all patients seen at Kootenai Health are from outside Kootenai County, so the need for accessible, affordable patient lodging has never been greater.
The Hospitality Center has 12 adult rooms, six Ronald McDonald House rooms for pediatric patient families, and two swing rooms. The center provides a home-like setting, with kitchen and laundry facilities and recreational spaces. Ronald McDonald House guests will also enjoy services such as meal and pet therapy programs.
“The demand for a Ronald McDonald House at Kootenai Health stems from the recent expansion of its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) as well as expanding pediatric services,” said Mike Forness, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Inland Northwest. “It will provide a free place where families can stay so they can be close to their baby or child.”
The Hospitality Center is located on the northwest corner of the Kootenai Health campus. It has easy access to a walking trail and a shuttle service to take guests to various campus locations.
“The collaboration between Community Cancer Fund, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Kootenai Health on this project has been remarkable,” said Jon Ness, CEO of Kootenai Health. “The Hospitality Center shows the positive impact we can make when the missions of three great organizations are in alignment.” The adult portion of the hospitality center retains the Walden House name. A prominent display honors the history, mission, and story of the Walden family and the Walden House. Now that the new Walden House is open, the existing Walden House building will be retired and removed. This move will allow for continued growth and development of medical offices to meet the needs of patients and the community.