Aspirus Family House: A Hidden Treasure For The Community
“It’s a supportive refuge and haven for people going through difficult times.”
FOR ANTIGO TIMES
The Aspirus health system serves patients across Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The integrated system includes four hospitals in Michigan, 13 hospitals in Wisconsin and 75 clinics throughout the region. Our patients have access to excellent local health services, and world-class specialty care.
Every year, thousands of people travel from the regions served by Aspirus Health hospitals and clinics for specialty care at Aspirus in Wausau. This includes patients traveling for long-term outpatient care, as well as families whose loved ones are hospitalized, and patients traveling for early or late-day appointments. It can be a challenge for some patients to find affordable lodging. That’s where the Aspirus Family House comes in.
“The Aspirus Family House is called a ‘home away from home,’” says Tasha Stencil, Aspirus Family House Manager. “We offer a safe, affordable place for people to come when they have early morning appointments, a longevity stay, daily cancer treatments at Aspirus Cancer Care, or they have a loved one staying at the hospital.” Stencil says a donation of $35 per night per room is suggested for guests staying at the facility, though no guests will be turned away based on inability to donate.
The Aspirus Family House is located across the street from the Aspirus Wausau Hospital (AWH) on the corner of 28th Avenue and Westhill Drive and complimentary transportation is provided for medical appointments or hospital visits. There are ten bedrooms with private bathrooms and shared living spaces designed as a home-like environment, conducive to healing and support from our community and others going through similar health experiences.
“I tell people there were three equal parts to my treatment. One was radiology, one was chemo and the third one was the Aspirus Family House,” says Karen Commiskey, former guest and current volunteer at the Aspirus Family House. “It felt like a home to me.”
Karen was unfamiliar with the Wausau area when she learned she would need cancer treatment at Aspirus Cancer Care – Wausau, located within AWH, which at times required her to have two daily radiation treatments. She says she doesn’t know what she would have done if it weren’t for the Aspirus Family House.
“It’s a supportive refuge and haven for people going through difficult times,” says Karen. “It’s more than just housing. There’s support, kindness and patience for people who are struggling. It’s incredible.”
The facility is different from a hotel in that patients and families are referred by health care providers, social workers, referral coordinators and other Aspirus team members based on need (financial, distance traveled, degree of illness, and duration of treatment, etc.). Guests are served by dedicated staff as well as volunteers like Karen, who has now permanently moved to Wausau and volunteers at the facility twice a week.
Karen says, “It has a peaceful, supportive vibe about it. The staff works very hard and they’re supportive without being intrusive. It’s just a beautiful place to be.”
The Aspirus Family House was established and is operated solely on donations.
Karen adds, “Everything is donated here. It’s beautiful what they’re doing with what they get. They make every donation go as far as they can for the people who need the resources here.