November 27, 2002

UCSD Medical Center Provides A Home-Away-From-Home for Patient Families

Clint Jackson, left, and his son Josh, are joined by Ellen Cherin, director, Bannister House, as they stop by the house kitchen for a snack.

The Bannister Family House located at the University of California San Diego Medical Center has been providing a "home away from home" for out-of-town families dealing with a medical emergency for more than eight years. Families in need of affordable lodging and supportive services of patients who are undergoing long-term care find a retreat from the stress of keeping a constant bedside vigil at the hospital.

"Families have the chance to meet other families in similar situations and develop a support network," said Ellen Cherin, Director, Bannister Family House.

UCSD Medical Center concerned with the emotional needs of people and their families facing a health crisis has provided lodging for more than 1,800 families from 47 states and 21 countries worldwide.

"I love the playroom and my Dad and I used it every day," said nine-year-old Josh Jackson.

This place is awesome, you can't beat the people and the location," said Clint Jackson a lung transplant recipient from Big Bear.

"My wife doesn't want to leave, the Bannister House is so peaceful and you can leave the world and its troubles behind," said Jackson. "It has a wonderful kitchen where we can make our own favorite meals and eat when we want. You don't have that luxury when you stay in a hotel and the staff makes the stay even better."

The House has 12 rooms, eight double and four single, each with its own bathroom. There are several community rooms including a TV room, living room, children's playroom, kitchen and dining room. The kitchen is the gathering place for most families providing a home away from home atmosphere. A fee is charged to help offset part of the operating costs, and financial assistance is available to accommodate individual needs. The House had an average occupancy of 87 percent in 2001.

A former patient wrote these words to the director of the Bannister House after she returned home to Kalamazoo, Michigan. "I'm not sure the staff will ever know just how much comfort they have brought us." A safe place to recharge the body, de-stress, and freshen up helps heal the patient and the family. I will be able to help my husband recover now that I have a 'harbor refuge'." You are my lighthouse during my family's storm.

The Bannister Family House opened in 1994 to provide affordable lodging and supportive services in memory of the family of the late Ralph L. Bannister, founder of Bannister Steel, Inc., a San Diego company that manufactures and erects structural steel. He made the gift to fund the residency in memory of his late wife and daughter.

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