open arms house

The Open Arms House is hosting an open house in Visalia on Thursday.

published on June 19, 2017 - 4:54 PM
Written by David Castellon

A non-profit business in Visalia offering end-of-life hospice care in a home-like setting will have an open house on Thursday.

“Open Arms House will be a home for end-of-life care for individuals in the service of a hospice agency that don’t have a caregiver at home to care for them, and [appear to be] in their last month of life,” said Carol Nickel, a retired hospice nurse who also is a co-founder of the program and a member of its governing board.

Hospice care normally is given in people’s homes, but a few facilities exist offering “medical hospice” for people requiring advanced medical care in their final days that can’t be done at home.

Nickel said the idea behind Open Arms House is to give care that’s not medically complex outside patients’ homes, but in a home-like setting, as the facility is a three-bedroom house converted to offer six private patient bedrooms.

“It looks like a home, it feels like a home. It’s doesn’t feel medical, and that’s what we want it to be,” she said; “We aren’t a hospital, and most people at the ends of their life need comfort and they need love — the love of their family.”

Nickel noted that only three other hospice homes of this type exist in California, and more are needed, as family members who try to care for somebody dying in their homes often get stressed or overwhelmed by all that is involved, along with their jobs and the other issues in their lives.

“And sometimes, a person ends up back in the hospital because a family can’t cope with taking care of them.”

Open Arms House isn’t scheduled to open until September, and part of the reason for the open house from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday is to raise awareness and funds.

Initially, the board of directors raised $700,000, most of which has gone to remodel and expand the house.

Now another $400,000 is needed to furnish it.

The group also is seeking money through donations, fundraisers and grants to pay for the facility’s ongoing operation, Nickel said.

Plans are to offer services at discounted rates, likely in the $200- to $250-a-day range, though a final price hasn’t been decided, said Nickel, adding that the plan is that people who can’t afford to pay that rate will receive further discounts or not be charged at all.

Visitors on Thursday also will eligible to enter a “wine spin” to compete to win a bottle of wine. The home is located at 3234 W. Iris Ct.


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