Close to his heart

Hospi­tal’s unique re­spite fa­cil­ity fills ur­gent need

Modern Healthcare - - SPECIAL FEATURE -

Daniel W. Far­rell Jr.— board chair­man at De­fi­ance Re­gional ( Ohio) Hospi­tal— prefers to give of his time, tal­ent and re­sources qui­etly and with­out fuss. When asked to list his ac­com­plish­ments as a trustee, Far­rell, 68, quips, “Just learn­ing all the terms.” He then adds, “I at­tribute the suc­cesses to the peo­ple who work there.”

But in 2011, when the hospi­tal’s man­age­ment pro­posed a project close to his heart, Far­rell took a very vis­i­ble role.

The project is a unique home­like fa­cil­ity on the hospi­tal’s cam­pus that of­fers re­spite ser­vices for care­givers of dis­abled peo­ple be­tween 16 and 40 years old, giv­ing the teens and young adults a place to go for short stays.

Far­rell and his wife, Sharon, of­fered to match the first $1 mil­lion raised to­ward the fa­cil­ity, named af­ter their grand­daugh­ter, Kait­lyn, a spe­cial-needs teenager who has Rett syn­drome and can­not walk or talk.

“It en­dorses the fact that, yes, there is a big need for it. It is real, and peo­ple are will­ing to open up their pock­et­books and help make that hap­pen,” says Far­rell, a re­tired en­tre­pre­neur who owned man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­nesses in aero­nau­tics parts and med­i­cal de­vices and sup­plies, such as saw blades and splints.

As Gary Cates, the hospi­tal’s pres­i­dent, ex­plains, “We an­nounced the project at an an­nual golf pro-am fundraiser in June of 2011. A year later, at our event in 2012, we opened the doors to that fa­cil­ity,” named Kait­lyn’s Cot­tage.

For Far­rell’s sup­port of Kait­lyn’s Cot­tage and his over­all work at 35-bed De­fi­ance Re­gional, he has been se­lected as the 2013 Trustee of the Year for a small hospi­tal— those with fewer than 100 beds.

Far­rell has been a trustee of De­fi­ance Re­gional since 2004 and chair­man since 2007. He also is a trustee for ProMed­ica, a Toledo, Ohio-based health sys­tem and par­ent or­ga­ni­za­tion for De­fi­ance Re­gional, which was named to Mod­ern Health­care’s 2012 list of the most prof­itable crit­i­cal-ac­cess hos­pi­tals, with net in­come of $16.5 mil­lion.

Far­rell is “a fi­nance guy, so he gets the num­bers,” says Cates, who of­ten sits down with Far­rell to talk through the “busi­ness pres­sure and dy­nam­ics” the hospi­tal faces. But Far­rell also “really has a gen­uine heart for peo­ple, and if you get to know Dan, a project like Kait­lyn’s Cot­tage doesn’t sur­prise you,” Cates says.

The cot­tage of­fers overnight and day­time re­spite ser­vices in a 4,500-square-foot fa­cil­ity with four bed­rooms, a li­brary, ac­tiv­ity room and din­ing ar­eas. Day­time ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude crafts, bak­ing and mu­sic.

Ser­vices are of­fered on a slid­ing scale that “starts at zero. We don’t ever want to be in a po­si­tion to tell a fam­ily ‘no’ to ser­vices for fi­nan­cial rea­sons,” Cates says.

To date, the hospi­tal has raised $2.1 mil­lion of the $2.8 mil­lion goal. A to­tal of $1.3 mil­lion of the do­nated funds fi­nanced con­struc­tion, while the re­main­der has been al­lo­cated to­ward an en­dow­ment. The hospi­tal contributed an ad­di­tional $600,000 for road­work and util­i­ties.

The cur­rent op­er­at­ing bud­get for Kait­lyn’s Cot­tage is $500,000, of which Cates es­ti­mates that the hospi­tal will col­lect about $70,000 in fees from par­ents.

Kait­lyn’s Cot­tage is very un­usual, in the opin­ion of Jill Ka­gan, chair­woman of the Na­tional Re­spite Coali­tion, An­nan­dale, Va. “I am not fa­mil­iar with any other out-ofhos­pi­tal re­spite, home­like fa­cil­ity that is lo­cated on a hospi­tal cam­pus,” Ka­gan says. She also notes that there are far fewer ser­vices na­tion­ally for the young-adult age group than there are for chil­dren or the el­derly.

Kait­lyn’s Cot­tage ad­dresses sev­eral im­por­tant bar­ri­ers to re­spite ser­vices: Its ser­vices are af­ford­able and it “gives fam­i­lies in­creased con­fi­dence—know­ing that a hospi­tal is close by, but it is still a home­like set­ting,” Ka­gan says.

While that is the mes­sage the hospi­tal uses to pro­mote Kait­lyn’s Cot­tage, “It has not been easy. (Par­ents) don’t nec­es­sar­ily trust any­body,” Far­rell says. “It took a while for Kait­lyn to stay overnight there.”

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