New ‘Hospitality Center’ provides low-cost lodging for Kootenai Health patients

Kootenai Health opened its brand-new Hospitality Center on Wednesday. It is a space where patients at Kootenai Health can stay overnight for limited to no cost. The facility provides low-cost overnight accommodations for adults and is free for pediatric patients and their families.

“It was really intended to give family members a place to relax, decompress, under sometimes very stressful situations when a loved one is in the hospital,” said Jeremy Evans, executive vice-president of operations for Kootenai Health.

The facility was inspired by a mutual desire between Kootenai Health, Community Cancer Fund and the Ronald McDonald House. It was made possible by the biggest single donation to Kootenai Health in its history: $5.8 million.

We’re getting a sneak peek inside – and it is GORGEOUS. @kootenaihealth @kxly4news

— Nikki Torres (@NikkiKXLY) July 17, 2019

The center includes 14 adult rooms and six Ronald McDonald House rooms for pediatric patient families. The center provides a home-like setting with a kitchen, laundry facilities and recreational spaces.

Ronald McDonald House guests will also be offered meal services and pet therapy programs.

“To allow them the opportunity to stay somewhere, free of charge or a minimal cost, and not have to worry about driving back and forth,” said Jerid Keefer, co-founder of Community Cancer Fund.

In the past, patients and their families have had access to lodging at the Walden House, which has eight-bedrooms and is located on Kootenai Health’s campus. The need for overnight lodging has grown, which sparked the inspiration for the new facility.

The history, mission and story of the Walden Family and the Walden House will be prominently displayed in the new facility. The current building will be sold and removed.

The Hospitality Center has last-minute touches and logistics to work out, but people can start staying at the center starting in August.