Written by: Claire Jones, UMHB Intern
Amy Henderson Firth died suddenly in 2012. Amy was an organ donor whose organs and tissues either saved lives, or made lives better, for least 70 people. Jim Fly, the Executive Director and Chaplain of Amy’s House explained that in honor of Amy, an affordable, sanitized, and safe home-away-from-home was established in Temple, Texas. He explained that Amy’s House is for living organ donors, organ recipients, and their support teams. Amy’s House provides rooms for patients who are gaining strength to return home, patients who still need to be close to the hospital, and the families and caregivers of transplant patients. Once a patient has stayed at Amy’s House, they are welcomed back when traveling into Temple for medical appointments related to their transplants.
There are several things about Amy’s House that make it so unique and make it a huge asset for the community. Amy’s House knows how important sanitizing is for those who stay in the house. Most every patient who comes in is on an immunosuppressant, which makes patients very susceptible to infections. To minimize infections, several steps are in place. The air and surfaces are sanitized, guests are required to wear masks, and no children under the age of 16 are allowed in. In addition, separate food storage drawers and separate refrigerator spaces are assigned for each patient.
Patients who stay at Amy’s House may stay anywhere from 1 night to around 2 months depending on their medical needs. Patients and their caregivers are encouraged to make donations. However, the Board of Amy’s House understands that many patients have expended large sums on necessary medical care, leaving little to cover the expenses of temporary lodging. Therefore, Amy’s House allows patients and caregivers to stay regardless of their ability to make donations. Amy’s House also has other ways of providing patients and caregivers with ways to satisfy other needs. One example of this is that financial donors often provide grocery vouchers that Amy’s House distributes to patients who need them.
In the future, Amy’s House plans to add opportunities for volunteers to help maintain the services Amy’s House provides. As for now, Amy’s House is focused on keeping the infection rate at low to none, and continuing to provide a home feel to patients who need peace, comfort, and a place to call home for a while.
Visit Amy's House online: https://www.amyshouse-temple.org/