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Home Away From Home: Helping Families with Newborns

Nov 19 2018
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How we make health care easier for newborns and their families

At 26 weeks pregnant, most expectant mothers are busy putting away baby clothes, organizing the nursery and making preparations to welcome their baby in a few short months.

At 26 weeks pregnant, Amanda Smith found herself in the hospital, processing the news that her baby would likely be born early and imagining how her family would get through the days and weeks to come.

Amanda knew that her baby would be facing an extended hospital stay after birth. Even though her family lives an hour away from Toledo, Amanda also knew she would be close to her son no matter what, thanks to Home Away From Home.

What is Mercy Health’s Home Away From Home?

Home Away From Home is a donor-supported facility for families of patients in Mercy Health – Children’s Hospital or St. Vincent Medical Center. It features 15 private guest rooms, each with a private bathroom, two queen-sized beds and daily housekeeping service. Guests also have full use of a lobby, children’s play area, small kitchen and laundry room.

Amanda’s son, Josiah, was born at 27 weeks, weighing only 2 pounds, 12 ounces. Small, fragile and still needing time to develop, Josiah spent 65 days in the neonatal intensive care unit at Mercy Health — Children’s Hospital in Toledo.

“After he was born, I was able to transfer over to Home Away From Home out of the hospital,” Amanda said. During the 65 days Josiah spent in the NICU, Home Away From Home was just that for Amanda and her family.

With her husband working two jobs, Amanda spent every day with Josiah, returning to Home Away From Home to cook meals, rest and visit with other families who were also staying at the facility. “It was nice to have a place to stay and a place I could make dinner so I wasn’t eating out every day,” said Amanda. “My husband joined me on the weekends and my mom even came to stay some weekends.”

While having a child in the NICU is never easy, not having to travel an hour each way just to see her son made a world of difference to Amanda. “Just to be close to your family, being right there at the hospital was a blessing,” she said. “It’s an amazing resource.”

A happy, healthy baby

Now nearly a year old, Josiah is doing well and Amanda is thankful for what the Mercy Health Foundation and donors made possible for her family. She enthusiastically recommends Home Away From Home whenever there is an opportunity.

“Having a loved one in the hospital can be a trying, difficult experience. Home Away From Home is just one small way we can make it easier,” said Audrey Ginter, director of annual programs for Mercy Health Foundation.

While a suggested donation of $50 per night is accepted, no guests are turned away if they are unable to pay. “Thanks to the support of generous donors, we are able to cover the cost of Home Away From Home for those families who are unable to,” Audrey said.

Your support will help ensure this resource continues to be available for the loved ones of Mercy Health patients. To make a donation,  visit foundation.mercy.com or call 419-251-2117.

For more Mercy Health Foundation stories, read about our life-saving mobile stroke unit or the foundation being named as a high-performer.


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