Nothing is more stressful for a parent and family than having a hospitalized child. The feeling of helplessness is overwhelming, especially when you live 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 2000 the World Croquet Championship Charitable Foundation, a philanthropic organization headquartered in Sebastopol, has supported families of babies in the NICU at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital by providing hotel vouchers. Now the foundation supports the Bill and Elizabeth Shea House, a four-bedroom home on hospital grounds that provides a safe place of respite for out-of-town families to be close to their hospitalized children. The house is named in gratitude for the major benefactors of the project, Bill and Elizabeth Shea.
Since its opening, more than 270 families have benefited from the comfort of a home-like environment across the street from the hospital. Families have stayed anywhere from one to 60 days, with an average stay of nearly eight days. Considering the average cost of a nearby hotel room with kitchen facilities is about $125 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.
This lodging was available to any family of a hospitalized child in Santa Rosa until October 2017 when the Shea House was damaged in the Tubbs Fire. But the Sonoma spirit prevails. We are now rebuilding and expect the new Shea House to be complete by the end of 2018.
Until then, we’re still offering parents alternative housing near the hospital. Please contact us at (707) 576-4009 to ask about hotel vouchers. You can also make other inquiries or learn how you can help support the Shea House.