There’s Room at This Inn: Firefighters Battling Kincade Fire Find Respite in Rebuilt Home for Families of Hospitalized Babies
Newly-reopened facility was destroyed in 2017
SANTA ROSA, Calif. –Sutter Health’s mission is to care for the health and well-being of its neighbors, especially in an emergency. So when Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital was ordered to evacuate patients on Oct. 26 for the second time in two years, the Elizabeth and Bill Shea House, normally used by families of hospitalized babies, was offered to firefighters as a place to rest.
About 100 firefighters representing Cal Fire, Pacifica, Napa, Clearlake, Pomona, Mill Valley, Walnut Creek and Santa Rosa, who were using the hospital’s parking lot as a staging area, accepted the offer to relax, catch up on much-needed sleep, rehydrate and have a snack at Shea House before returning to the frontlines of the fire.
“We were so pleased to be able to offer the first responders a comfortable place to take a break from fighting the Kincade Fire,” said Mike Purvis, CEO of Sutter Santa Rosa. “Sutter Santa Rosa has been a part of this community for many years and we were glad to support their efforts to save it.”
Ironically, finishing touches had just been completed on the newly-rebuilt Shea House –which was destroyed in the 2017 Tubbs Fire.
Now that the Kincade Fire is contained and Sutter Santa Rosa has reopened for patients, Shea House is again providing free lodging for low-income families of hospitalized babies who need a nearby place to stay while their newborns are cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
About the Elizabeth and Bill Shea House
Nothing is more stressful for a parent and family than having a hospitalized child. The feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming, especially when home is far from the hospital. Studies have long shown that parent presence at the bedside of a sick child is critical to bonding and long-term recovery. For low-income families that don’t live near the hospital, staying in the area can be a significant hardship.
Since it opened in 2004, more than 560 families from across Northern California, including far-flung communities like Ukiah, Gualala, Potter Valley, Sea Ranch, Middletown, Talmage and Willits, have benefited from the comfort of Shea House’s home-like environment. Families stay in one of four private suites anywhere from one to 60 days, with an average stay of about nine days. Shea House also offers guests a fully-equipped kitchen, laundry facilities and comfortable indoor and outdoor areas in which to relax. With the average cost of a nearby hotel room running $225 per night, it’s easy to see how a lengthy hospital stay could be a hardship on any family, let alone one with limited financial resources. To date, Shea House has provided more than $831,000 worth of accommodation to these families.
The Elizabeth and Bill Shea House was rebuilt through the generosity of community donors and its namesakes, Elizabeth and Bill Shea. Shea House’s operational costs are entirely supported by the Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital Foundation.
About Sutter Santa Rosa’s Care for Sonoma County’s NICU Patients and Their Families
For nearly 50 years, Sutter Santa Rosa’s NICU has provided the highest level of intensive care for newborns in the community. An average of 300 newborns are admitted to its NICU each year. These babies and their families would otherwise have to travel to San Francisco to receive life-saving treatment. With 12 NICU beds, three full-time neonatologists and 39 specially trained nurses, the NICU offers pediatric subspecialties including neurology and leading-edge technology to ensure the best possible outcomes for its tiny patients and provides their families with support services to address the many challenges they face in caring for their newborns.