One of the worst calls you can get is hearing a loved one has a medical emergency and you are miles.. or hours away. So many worries run through your head. Trying to find a place to stay shouldn't be one of those concerns. On the campus of the Avera Heart Hospital it isn't and it won't be by next year at Avera McKennan Hospital's Campus.
The Prairie Heart Guest House was built in 2003 for Avera Heart Hospital patients family members. It's connected to the Heart Hospital and North Central Heart Institute. It's like a motel with all the amenities, but it's more like a refuge.
Chris Moench says,"It's so much more than I thought it would be." She was part of the original group of 9 spouses who came up with the idea and saw it through. Their husbands are surgeons at the Heart Hospital.
Chris says, "Having been through this with family members myself, you feel such a need to be close but you also need breaks and you want to take little breaks because you don't want to happen to be gone during critical times so with this place you can offer support and the patient has confidence because they know you are here."
The Brauer family is glad to be together during a stressful time. Nona, the matriarch of the family was air lifted to the Heart Hospital from Ellendale, North Dakota after a heart attack. Her daughter, Pam O'Brien and her family, flew in from Dallas, Texas.
Pam says, "The best thing is it's all right here. We can all be together. We have the waiting room, the family room, the cafeteria right here. We gather in the hotel room and if one of us wants to check in on her we're all right here. The staff is wonderful. It has just been a saving grace for my family. It makes us feel better being here with her."
There are 21 rooms and they are in the middle of an expansion project to add another 11.
Avera McKennan is set to break ground on the block directly south of the Orthopedic Institute in September. It will be called The Nano Nagle Hospitality Home which is named after an Irish Nun who founded the Presentation Sisters who support the Avera Network. The home will provide 20 families with a little peace of mind during a difficult time.
Dick Molseed is the Senior Vice President of Environmental Services. He says, "It's also for people who have extended outpatient needs like transplant patients or patients with cancer. It will be a place for them to be close to the hospital and to have a sense of family."
The Nano Nagle Hospitality Home is expected to be done by the spring of next year. Guests can stay for free but there are income guidelines.The Prairie Heart is first come first serve and costs $47 a day, but if the family can't afford it they will work with you.
There are also hospitality homes at Avera St. Luke's in Aberdeen, Avera Queen of Peace in Mitchell and Avera Sacred Heart in Yankton.
If you have questions call 1-877-at-AVERA or visit www.averamckennan.org