‘Good House’ helps out-of-town patients feel like they’re at home

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INDIANAPOLIS – IU Health University Hospital patients who live out of town have a temporary place to stay for free.

The Good House is located downtown off North College Avenue. Patients from other states or those who live more than 30 minutes outside of Indianapolis qualify to stay at the house, as do their families. The home primarily accepts patients who are getting cancer treatments or bone marrow transplants. Their insurance does not cover housing.

Lori Hofmann, operations director for the home, usually makes the arrangements for patients after being contacted by a transplant coordinator from the hospital. The Good House is a cause close to her heart; Hofmann’s aunt started the organization in January 2012 after her husband had a bone marrow transplant. The aunt kept meeting families who were sleeping on the couch and had no place to shower or relax.

“She decided she wanted to get involved and started talking to some bone marrow transplant nurses and just decided to start going this way with it,” Hofmann said.

Hofmann said she’s happy to help. Patients can stay at The Good House for up to three weeks for free. The home has four bedrooms, each with its own bathroom.

“They can see they’re cared for at a time that’s very stressful in their life,” said IU Health Hematologist Dr. Ken Cornetta.

James Daniel “Danny” Cox, a South Bend man whose multiple myeloma is in remission, has to visit the hospital over multiple days because the staff needs to collect stem cells. He’ll return next month for a bone marrow transplant.

“What can you say to somebody who gives you a gift like that?” Cox asked.

Cox said he’s thankful he has a place to stay and doesn’t have to worry about paying for it. A friend who’s helping take care of him will also stay at The Good House.

“(I enjoy) meeting the patients and seeing all their stories and how grateful they are (that they do) not have to worry about that one extra thing while they’re here,” Hofmann said.

Cox said his treatments make him tired. If he didn’t have The Good House, he’d have to drive to and from South Bend each day, a seven-hour round trip. Cox said The Good House reminds him of home.

“To say that finances are difficult…times are hard, but this allows me to take those funds and do other things,” he said.

The founder of The Good House has filed for nonprofit status, and hopes to expand. The house has had to turn away patients because it was at capacity. The home operates through donations, which help pay for things like food, utilities, upkeep and the mortgage.

“These people, you know, they run The Good House (and) they make all that possible,” Cox said.

For more information, visit The Good House’s website.

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