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They spend hours inside the hospitals caring for patients and some days, they even volunteer their time in others ways.
By TJ Banes, IU Health Senior Journalist, firstname.lastname@example.org
On a recent rainy week day morning, Nurse Barbara Irwin-Herman left her 12-hour shift at Riley Hospital. She drove just a few blocks away where she began cleaning out a rose garden at a place known to IU Health patients as a “home away from home.” Irwin-Herman, who has been an anesthesia nurse for 53 years, was joined in her volunteer efforts by Lesley May, a social worker with IU Health.
“I refer patients here. I volunteer because I appreciate this place so much,” said May, who has worked at IU Health for nearly two years.
The place May referred to is called “Fair Haven at Ada’s Place,” a free lodging space providing 12 rooms for patients and families needing housing close to IU Health. Ada’s Place opened in 2021 and is the second location for Fair Haven. In 2007, Amanda Milner, a former IU Health employee, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, realized the need for out-of-town patients to find adequate housing while remaining close to the hospital for ongoing care. She opened the doors to Fair Haven, providing 10 private rooms.
Since then, thousands of patients have stayed at Fair Haven facilities – fully furnished suites that include all appliances linens, cable television and Internet. Both facilities offer laundry rooms, a community kitchen, and chapel. In addition to housing, several churches and volunteers assist in providing families with meals, transportation and other support services.
Ada’s Place is also available to patients and families who don’t require housing but just need a place to shower, do laundry, and refresh away from the hospital.
The rooms have names such as “Mercy,” and “Goodness,” representing the overall mission of Fair Haven - to lift a burden for these families and share the love of Christ through gracious hospitality and compassionate support.
“We have transplant patients who are just five days post surgery. We try to make it as warm and homey as possible because these people have been through so much,” said Milner. Patients with compromised immune systems have the option of dining in their room with the aid of a kitchenette, or joining other residents for a community meal. Milner said a majority of patients come to IU Health for oncology or transplant care.
Ada’s Place offers outdoor areas for fresh air including comfortable seating, and a basketball court.
Volunteers were needed recently to help spruce up the outdoor space. Joy Norton who works in physician referral services and Danielle McClain, a social worker spent time weeding the flower beds.
And inside Ada’s Place, volunteers from Riley Hospital - Andrea Clark, Julie Gardner, Jeri Bennett, and Chelsea Kai baked cookies for residents.
“We are always needing extra hands to help with garden work and to serve meals to our residents. We appreciate every act of kindness,” said Milner.
Learn more about Fair Haven here.