Wednesday, August 15 , 2018, 8:19 pm | Fair 72º

Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care Celebrates Grand Opening of Serenity House

An open house and guided tours for the public will be offered Saturday

Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care celebrated the grand opening of its new hospice inpatient facility, Serenity House, this week with several receptions honoring donors and local leaders for their ongoing support of the community-funded building project.

The new Serenity House will offer patients and their families a residential, home-like setting in natural surroundings where they’ll receive high-quality and individualized around-the-clock care from a team of specially trained doctors, nurses, medical social workers, spiritual counselors, hospice aides and volunteers that support emotional, spiritual and physical needs at the end of life.

“The New Serenity House will offer patients and their families the needed support and comfort during what is often a difficult and sad time in their lives,” said Assemblyman Das Williams, representative of the 35th Assembly District.

“The extra beds this facility provides will be critical in delivering additional hospice care in the Santa Barbara region, and we’re very lucky to have such an incredible resource in our community,” state Sen. Tony Strickland said.

As the only licensed hospice inpatient care provider in Santa Barbara County, VNHC found its six-bed facility could no longer adequately satisfy the demand for hospice care in the community. From 2008 to 2009 alone, Serenity House saw a 71 percent increase in the number of patients served and often, a waiting list of 10 or more people awaiting care.

In order to meet the increasing demand for quality end-of-life care, VNHC embarked on an ambitious capital campaign to fund an expanded hospice facility. By the end of 2007, community members had donated more than $8 million to fund the project and with additional support from a large bequest, the medical nonprofit was ready to move forward with plans to build a new Serenity House.

Community donations covered the entire cost of design and construction for the new 27,300-square-foot Serenity House.
Community donations covered the entire cost of design and construction for the new 27,300-square-foot Serenity House. (Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care photo)

“Thanks to an outpouring of support from this unique community, we were able to raise enough money to cover the entire cost of design and construction for the new facility,” said Lynda Tanner, president and chief executive officer for VNHC. “Their incredible generosity and commitment to VNHC’s charitable mission allowed us to build Serenity House with no construction loans or debt, and we can now focus all of our efforts and attention on providing the best end-of-life care possible.”

Frank Schipper Construction broke ground on the new 27,300-square-foot facility in 2009 after a careful planning and design process led by PMSM Architects, which oversaw every detail of the building and its surrounding campus.

Each private room is equipped with a bed, flat-screen TV, comfortable upholstered chair, closet, refrigerator, spacious ADA-approved bathroom, and an outdoor patio with sweeping views of Santa Barbara’s lush hillsides.

“Our goal was to create an inviting yet medically advanced built environment where patients and their families felt like they were in the comfort of their own homes,” said Kristin Story, principal architect at PMSM. “From the therapeutic whirlpool spa and full commercial kitchen to a quiet meditation room and outdoor fireplace, every aspect of the design focused on providing elements of comfort, dignity and peace.”

The new Serenity House has been named a Built Green Santa Barbara two-star facility, demonstrating a commitment to the latest practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

“Serenity House is so much more than just a fancy building with a pretty view,” said Michelle Martinich, board chair of VNHC. “Our team of qualified doctors, nurses and support staff offer a continuum of care which addresses both the needs of the patient and their families. With about 30 staff and dozens of trained volunteers, Serenity House offers a variety of medical and integrated approaches to providing comfort, dignity and peace at life’s end.”

VNHC will host an open house and guided tours for the public from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday. For more information, contact Tamara Skov at 805.690.6222 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

For more information about VNHC, click here or call 805.965.5555.

— Greg Rogers is the communications officer for Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.


Special Reports

Heroin Rising
<p>Lizette Correa shares a moment with her 9-month-old daughter, Layla, outside their Goleta home. Correa is about to graduate from Project Recovery, a program of the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, and is determined to overcome her heroin addiction — for herself and for her daughter. “I look at her and I think ‘I need to be here for her and I need to show her an example, I don’t want her to see me and learn about drugs’,” she says.</p>

In Struggle to Get Clean, and Stay That Way, Young Mother Battles Heroin Addiction

Santa Barbara County sounds alarm as opiate drug use escalates, spreads into mainstream population
Safety Net Series
<p>Charles Condelos, a retired banker, regularly goes to the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics for his primary care and to renew his prescription for back pain medication. He says Dr. Charles Fenzi, who was treating him that day at the Westside Clinic, and Dr. Susan Lawton are some of the best people he’s ever met.</p>

Safety Net: Patchwork of Clinics Struggles to Keep Santa Barbara County Healthy

Clinics that take all comers a lifeline for low-income patients, with new health-care law about to feed even more into overburdened system. First in a series
Prescription for Abuse
<p>American Medical Response emergency medical technicians arrive at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with little time to spare for victims of prescription drug overdoses.</p>

Quiet Epidemic of Prescription Drug Abuse Taking a Toll on Santa Barbara County

Evidence of addiction shows an alarming escalation, Noozhawk finds in Prescription for Abuse special report
Mental Health
<p>Rich Detty and his late wife knew something was wrong with their son, Cliff, but were repeatedly stymied in their attempts to get him help from the mental health system. Cliff Detty, 46, died in April while in restraints at Santa Barbara County’s Psychiatric Health Facility.</p>

While Son Struggled with Mental Illness, Father Fought His Own Battle

Cliff Detty's death reveals scope, limitations of seemingly impenetrable mental health system. First in a series