MedWatch Today: How Terry’s House Became a Home for NICU Parents

Med Watch Today

Terry’s House is a home away from home for those with loved ones who are critically ill or injured, and receiving care at Community Regional Medical Center.

Being close to their loved one in the hospital without the usual burdens of travel, including expensive lodging, often times makes all the difference in the patient’s healing. For parents of babies staying in neonatal intensive care, it’s especially important to be nearby, because so much of that little one’s healing comes from being close to parental love and support.

You can find first-time mom Graciela Meza at the neonatal intensive care unit at community Regional at least three times a day, visiting her baby girl Armida. Graciela delivered Armida at 24 weeks, born weighing only one pound, ten ounces.

“She was very small, she could fit here,” Graciela showed her hand to explain her daughter’s birth size. She continued, “She was intubated because of her lungs, they were so premature, she was so tiny.”

It was a very stressful time for Graciela and her husband. They live in Earlimart, a little over an hour away from Fresno. And though Graciela was discharged from the hospital, baby Armida had to stay to continue to get the high level care she so desperately needed.

“I was very scared. It was horrible, I was very sad,” said Graciela.

Graciela and her husband were referred to Terry’s House. Terry’s House is a home away from home for families of patients fighting for their lives or receiving critical care across the street at Community Regional. The house is funded solely on donations. Graciela and her husband have been staying at Terry’s House for at least four months while Armida receives care from the specially trained NICU team.

Whitney Horn is the manager at Terry’s House. She said, “This is the family that needs help. We are here to continue this service and the mission of this house.”

She said Graciela has found a way to turn Terry’s House into a home.

“I try to cook like I know how to cook a lot of Mexican food… I’ve been getting a lot of love from them and a lot of support, and I think they deserve it… I like to spoil them,” explained Graciela.

Whitney added, “There’s tough, hard days, but definitely the joy that they bring to not only our staff and our volunteers, but the other guests because of their length of stay, they’re giving hope to everybody else around them.”

Whitney said it’s families like Graciela’s that make Terry’s House a place filled with comfort and hope.

“It’s incredible what this house does for families, what the donor dollars do, and how we want to continue to do this, and serve the mission every single day,” said Whitney.

Because of Terry’s House, Graciela and her husband don’t have to stress about where to stay, and can focus on caring for their baby girl.

“We’re very blessed, it’s a blessing and I’m very thankful, very, very thankful,” ended Graciela.

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