One place like home
The Hospitality House of Tulsa provides rest, care and comfort for families of patients at local hospitals.
Toni Moore, president and CEO of The Hospitality House of Tulsa.
When she was 17, Toni Moore’s world changed. That year, her mother was diagnosed with advanced-stage breast cancer.
During her mother’s two-year battle with the disease, Moore’s parents drove two hours monthly from Sayre, Okla., to Oklahoma City for inpatient treatments. Moore and her two at-home siblings would have faced the situation alone, if not for the community.
Members of her church and sports families gave them rides. The community ensured that their team uniforms were cleaned, food was on the table and help was available when they needed it.
“In the midst of tragedy, I had a very positive experience. The community really stepped up,” says Moore, who never forgot the hospitality she received and the difference it made. With that in mind, she opened The Hospitality House of Tulsa in August 2006.
The Hospitality House, 1135 S. Victor Ave., offers seven fully furnished suites with private baths to families of patients traveling 30 miles or more to Tulsa for inpatient medical care at any Tulsa hospital. Every night Hospitality House is full. Families can stay up to two weeks, with the average stay lasting 10 to 12 days, Moore says. Cost is by donation only and can range from $1 to $10 per night.
The Hospitality House facility came thanks to Hillcrest Medical Center, which purchased the building in December 2005 and offered it to Moore for a $1-per-year lease. With community funds and volunteer labor and supplies, a remodeled complex opened in August 2006.
To date, Hospitality House has helped 786 patients’ families from all over Oklahoma and 23 states.
“It’s much more than lodging,” Moore says. “A family has so many needs beyond just a bed and pillow.”
Hospitality House volunteers provide meals four to five nights per week. They also offer prayer support, which Moore says approximately 90 percent of Hospitality House guests request. Each family suite has a living room, bedroom, bathroom and warming kitchen. A communal laundry room, full-size kitchen and welcome center are also available on site.
“I’ve sent several families there and they seem to like it,” says Dr. Paul Kempe, a cardiovascular surgeon at Utica Park Clinic. “It’s better for families to stay there than trying to sleep on a couch in a waiting room. The family needs rest now. When they get home, they will have less."
Shine a light
On Dec. 2, Hospitality House will launch its annual fundraiser, "Room at the Inn, Room in our Hearts." The event kicks off with the Night of Hospitality, during which volunteers will deliver 500 waiting-room survival kits — blankets, neck pillows, microwaveable food, snacks and other items — to families in the waiting rooms of all 14 Tulsa hospitals and two Owasso hospitals.
Tulsans can also visit The Hospitality House's 10,200-light Christmas display. The number represents each night of lodging per family member The Hospitality House provides throughout the year. For $10, donors can sponsor a light and a night’s lodging for a patient’s family member.
To donate, call 918-794-0088 or visit www.tulsahospitalityhouse.org.
The Hospitality House also provides support once families return home through the Community Connection program. At a family's request, Hospitality House contacts local organizations and churches, which can assist the family during the critical weeks of recovery with meals, household chores, wheelchair ramps and continued support. Moore says about 30 percent of families request this program.