Innovative Peace House will provide home away from home for patients, families and veterans

Innovative Peace House will provide home away from home for patients, families and veterans

March 21, 2013

GREENVILLE -- The Peace House, a hospitality home for patients and families in extended rehabilitation therapy at Greenville Health System (GHS), officially opens its doors on March 25.

But the community can get a sneak peak at the 1425 Augusta Street house – a dream two years in the making – during a community open house on Thursday, March 21, 4 - 6 p.m. A grand opening and ribbon-cutting event will be held on site at 10 a.m. that morning.

The house will provide an invaluable life line for patients undergoing therapy at GHS’ Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital, said RCP administrator Stan Healy. The hospital is the only one in S.C. with nationally accredited traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury programs. It draws patients from across the entire state and even northeast Georgia – and is a godsend for patients. But the distance can taxing for out-of-county patients and families since the recovery process can include weeks of inpatient hospitalization and then additional outpatient therapy sometimes requiring six hours of therapy several times a week.

“Our community saw the need and took extraordinary action to make the project happen,” said GHS President and CEO Michael Riordan, who praised the many community members and businesses who rallied around the project.

Peace House will serve residents who live outside a 25-mile radius from GHS’ rehabilitation hospital. Because of the large numbers of injured service members returning to South Carolina from war zones, the Peace House will also be available to veterans who require ongoing rehabilitation services. When a veteran is a guest in the home, a flag denoting that branch of service will fly from the second flagpole outside the house.

“The Peace House project required extraordinary vision – but also extraordinary heart and perseverance,” said Riordan, who served three years in the United States Marine Corps as a lieutenant. “I’m proud to work for a healthcare system that goes the distance on a project like this – but especially proud to live in a community that partners with us on the journey.”

More than $150,000 in cash or in-kind donations has been raised for the project so far. More than 20 vendors or subcontractors took part in the project, which was kickstarted by Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling of the Upstate.

“The Paul Davis commitment to serve the community in which we work combined with my personal connection to the military made the Peace House project our most fulfilling volunteer effort to date,” said co-owner Dan Driscoll.

GHS project managers were Bobby Craigo and James Floyd. Vendors on the extensive project included companies as diverse as southeastern-based Excel Electric and JHM Hotels, which is helping transform the Greenville downtown with the recently renovated Hyatt Regency.

 Organizers said patients requiring extensive rehabilitation – such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, amputation and neurological conditions – will benefit the most from the Peace House.  RCP treats nearly 1,000 inpatients and outpatients each year

“I can’t tell you how excited families are to have this option,” said Allen Funk, a business executive living in Keowee Key who became an outspoken supporter of RCP after he was treated there for Guillain-Barre Syndrome in 2008. “Surviving the original illness or trauma is only part of the battle; therapy is tough and grueling and truly does take the resources of an entire family,” said Funk. “Having something like this – especially when it can also be extended to our brave service members – is a tremendous benefit and source of pride for our entire community.”

“Providing lodging – where families or patients can stay at no or low-cost – will make a huge difference for families and allow them greater participation in rehabilitation,” said RCP’s Healy. “This is vital since families can be critical to long-term therapy success.”

Thanks to community support, an overnight stay in the Peace House is only $10. Even so, hospital officials stressed that no one would be turned away.

The 3,000-square-foot home will be able to accommodate up to six families and sleep two persons to a room. The house features a security system with all residence rooms equipped with electronic key fobs comparable to those issued at hotels. The house has two bedrooms and bathrooms that are accessible for persons with disabilities. In the commons room, families and patients can relax and watch television on a large-screen TV.  The downstairs has a fully working kitchen, with the upstairs a partial kitchen. It also has onsite laundry facilities.

The Peace House has both paid staff and volunteers to help provide support to the patients and their families.