Kaweah Health introduces new hospice facility

Ruth Wood Open Arms House hosts open house tour after Kaweah Health Hospital Foundation takes ownership

VISALIA – A reestablished caregiving home hosted an open house tour to give the Visalia community an inside look at what will come of the organization’s fresh start.

The Kaweah Health Ruth Wood Open Arms House, located at 3234 W. Iris Ave., hosted an open house on Tuesday, June 28 in Visalia to give community members a chance to tour the premises. Kaweah Health plans to open the house after state approval of the home as a licensed residential care facility.

According to Kaweah Health press release, the house was previously established by another organization but the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for the organization to keep the doors open. However, it is now under the ownership of the Kaweah Health Hospital Foundation as of fall 2021. 

The Kaweah Health hospice will oversee the day-to-day operations and medical care at the house under the leadership of Dr. Ryan Horward, the medical director of Kaweah Health hospice and palliative care services. Patients will be cared for by trained personnel with Kaweah Health employment screenings and will be supported by the Kaweah Health hospice team of nurses, social workers, chaplains and home health aides.

Director of Kaweah Health hospice, home health and home care, Tiffany Bullock, said the facility is for patients terminally ill and nearing the end of life who cannot be cared for by their own families or private caregivers. “They will come here and be able to stay and enjoy the end of life,” she said.

Something that makes this facility stand out from others is the amount of hospice residents allowed in the home. “Many of those homes here in our community are not licensed to have more than a certain number of hospice patients,” Bullock explained. “Every resident here will be a hospice patient. So that’s a big difference.”

Additionally, Bullock described the differences in level of attention needed for patients with the Open Arms house. 

“The level of care that’s needed is different when [patients] are in hospice nearing the end of life. You definitely have a higher level of need many times. The patient to caregiver ratio may be much higher here,” she said.

Community members were invited to tour the home during the open house event. The house has six individual bedrooms for patients, a living space, a kitchen, a large dining room, a serenity garden where residents and relatives can sit and visit.

The long-term goal going forward for this organization is to give full support to patients as they come to the end of their life, said Bullock. “The goal is to provide service to as many patients as we can, but the real overall goal is truly to provide the service to people who are terminally ill and at the end of their life, to support them and their families. The goal is for them to have dignity and comfort and peace, as it is the goal with any of our hospice patients,” she said.

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