Home Away From Home For Relatives Of Palo Alto VA Patients To Expand

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PALO ALTO (KCBS) – Fisher House Palo Alto will add a second building to accommodate the growing number of military families who need lodging while their loved ones undergo rehabilitation or surgery at the VA Polytrauma Center, officials announced Wednesday.

There is usually a waiting list for one of the 20 rooms in the current building across the street from the VA Palo Alto Hospital Health Care System, said spokeswoman Cindy Campbell.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

“The hospital at Palo Alto is, unfortunately, so well used that the need for another house is too great,” she said.

There are 300 beds in the VA Palo Alto. Veterans come to its Polytrauma Center for both short-term and long-term care. Last week, the hospital was the setting for 2 Purple Heart ceremonies.

Kimberly Flores said she appreciated being so close while her husband goes through rehabilitation after a spinal cord injury he suffered while serving in Afghanistan.

“It’s nice to be just a few feet away of him. And if he needs me at night, he calls me and I can just walk right over,” she said.

Flores said having a comfortable place to recharge her own batteries at the end of the day makes it easier to focus on her husband and what he needs to recover.

“If we don’t have the proper care, we can’t give the proper care to our soldiers,” she said.

Relatives of VA patients are allowed to stay free of charge at any of the 56 Fisher Houses located near military installations and hospitals across the country.

Like its counterparts elsewhere, the new Palo Alto building will feature architecture that promotes healing and a sense of well-being, Campbell said.

“These homes are stunning,” she said, adding that several were recently featured in Architectural Digest.

The Fisher House program created in 1990 was the largest beneficiary of President Obama’s Nobel prize money.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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