Members of the community are invited to tour the home during the event, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3234 W. Iris Ave., Visalia. The house, now under the ownership of the Kaweah Health Hospital Foundation, provides a home-like setting for hospice patients with a pay system based on their ability to pay. Kaweah Health Hospice will oversee day-to-day operations and medical care at the house under the leadership of Dr. Ryan Howard, Medical Director of Kaweah Health Hospice and Palliative Care Services. Kaweah Health will open the house as soon as the State approves the home as a licensed residential care facility.
“There is no other home like this in the Central Valley,” said Tiffany Bullock, Director of Kaweah Health Hospice, Home Health and Home Care. “We have the ability to accept six residents and provide 24-hour-a-day care to help ensure that they have the best comfort and peace during their end of life.”
The Kaweah Health Ruth Wood Open Arms House has six patient rooms, a living space, a kitchen, a large dining area, office space, and a serenity garden where residents and families can sit and visit. There, patients will be cared for by trained personnel who have gone through the Kaweah Health employment screening and will be supported by the Kaweah Health Hospice team of nurses, social workers, chaplains, and home health aides.
“The house really empowers families to be families while our staff provide caregiving support,” Dr. Ryan Howard said.
The Ruth Wood Open Arms House is not new to Visalia. It was previously established by a different organization. However when the pandemic hit, it was not feasible for that organization to keep the doors open and in 2021, ownership was transferred to Kaweah Health.
“Over the last several years we’ve had so many patients and families come to us that need some place to go and not having a place for them to go was very hard,” said Deborah Salazar, Kaweah Health Hospice Nurse Manager.
Dr. Howard says it is an honor to be able to care for the community at the end of life. “We are incredibly honored to serve patients and their families in this community and just help folks be comfortable and maintain their dignity and receive compassionate care at the end of life,” he said. “It’s really a testament to Kaweah Health’s mission to provide excellence and compassion. This house is going to enable us to continue that mission even for the most vulnerable of our community.”
Kaweah Health is a publicly-owned community healthcare organization that provides comprehensive health services to the greater Visalia region and Tulare County. With over 5,100 employees and 700 dedicated medical professionals, Kaweah Health offers state-of-the-art medicine, high-quality preventive services and specialized health centers and clinics. For more information, visit www.KaweahHealth.org. #