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Home for families with sick children opens near Kelowna hospital | CBC News

Parents with sick children admitted to Kelowna General Hospital will now have a place to stay that is close to the facility. 

The newly-built JoeAnna’s House is a nearly 14,000 square-foot home right beside the hospital in Kelowna, B.C. It is available to families Nov. 25. 

Kelowna General Hospital is a tertiary referral hospital, serving all of B.C.’s southern Interior. One in four patients at the hospital are from out of town, according to Interior Health. 

Doug Rankmore, CEO of the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, says the home is largely meant for families of those patients. 

“I think this will make a tremendous difference in people’s ability to focus on the loved one who’s not well,” Rankmore told Sarah Penton, host of Radio West

“This is the culmination of a lot of dreams and a lot of ambitions and a lot of hopes.” 

JoeAnna’s House has a large communal living space, a kitchen and a gym, as well as 20 separate sleeping quarters for families.  (Sarah Penton/CBC)

Jenn Goodwin, vice president of communications and culture at Interior Health, says she expects the new housing option will have a positive effect on out-of-town patients. 

“Although JoeAnna’s House is located in Kelowna, its impact will be felt across Interior Health. We know that people recover and heal better when they have a loved one nearby and with them while they’re receiving clinical care,” Goodwin said.

Finding a short-term living situation in Kelowna can often be difficult and expensive, according to Rankmore. 

“We have stories of babies who’ve been flown out of Trail or out of Nelson. Mom has to stay behind because she’s had a C-section. The baby arrives by themselves or maybe with dad. And it happened in the middle of the night … and they’re here and they don’t know where to go,” Rankmore said.  

“We hope this will be a place that will just make that landing a little bit softer.”

“I think this will make a tremendous difference in people’s ability to focus on the loved one who’s not well,” says Doug Rankmore, CEO of the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation. (Shauna Nyrose)

A place to rest

JoeAnna’s House was named after Josef and Anna Huber, the founders of Prestige Hotels and Resorts—a major donor of the project. 

All of the money for JoeAnna’s House came from donations from the southern Interior community through the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation’s ‘Better Together’ fundraising campaign. More than $10-million was raised for the building and operation of the house.

Interior Health donated the land to the foundation for the house’s location. 

The children’s play area at JoeAnna’s House, located at 321 Royal Ave., Kelowna, B.C. (Sarah Penton/CBC)

The facility has a large communal living space, a kitchen and a gym, as well as 20 separate sleeping quarters for families. 

JoeAnna’s House has a day use area with an accessible shower washroom. The space was created for moms who have babies in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit.

“There are facilities up there for them to be able to sleep beside their sick baby. But they need respite away from there,” Rankmore said.

Mothers can get a key fob for the day use area, have a shower, eat and workout if they wish. Once they’re refreshed, they can return to the hospital to be bedside with their babies. 

One of the 20 rooms at JoeAnna’s House. (Sarah Penton/CBC)

JoeAnna’s House will take referrals for families that need a place to stay through the hospital. The rate is $25 per night. If someone cannot afford the fee, Rankmore says the house will consider alternatives on a situational basis. 

Listen to the full story here:

Parents with sick children admitted to Kelowna General Hospital will now have a place to stay that is close to the facility.  6:50
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