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The Cheney Family Place

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MEDFORD, Ore. — A Southern Oregon institution is helping patients and family’s in need. Asante’s Francis Cheney Family Place is like a motel for people going through medical challenges. It’s open to those in need of somewhere to stay near the Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford. Most people don’t even know it’s there, but its helped thousands of people in the last 14 years.

Michelle Durler had a health emergency which forced her daughter, Hannah, to be born 3 months early. Hannah Durler weighed one pound and nine ounces, and her survival wasn’t assured. Her mother’s recovery meant she couldn’t go home after her delivery, so Michelle Durler moved into Asante’s Cheney family place.

“When I came here I was still in a wheel chair, I couldn’t really care for myself and the the people here at Cheney would call me and ask how I was…that wasn’t in their job description,” said Michelle Durler.

The Cheney Family Place is a temporary living facility just across the street from Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. In the 14 years since it’s opened, the Cheney Family Place has helped more the 20,000 patients and family members stay near the hospital at a reduced cost, before it was built, there were limited options.

“Some people slept in their cars, some tried to stay in motels, chemo patients have to stay 7 or 8 weeks so it would be expensive to stay in a motel that long,” said Sharon Young, of Asante Guest Services.

While Michelle Durler recovered at Cheney Family Place, the staff arranged a for a van to get her back and forth to the hospital. So she could visit and care for her newborn. NewsWatch12 was with Michelle and Hannah when they visited the NICU for the first time since they were allowed to go home. The NICU team sees dramatic differences in a babies health if the mother is available.

“In order for a baby to succeed, like getting off the ventilator, we love them to have what we call kangaroo care, skin to skin, when the mothers are here that happens more, it helps the baby regulate their breathing or their heart rate,” explained Asante NICU Nurse Vicki Macy.

The Cheney Family place is available to anyone with a need to stay near the hospital and the fees can be based on ability to pay.

“I think the Cheney family place is a hidden gem in our community,” said Jennifer McRae, with the Asante Foundation. “People can stay here if people need treatment if they live in Brookings or Coos Bay. They can use this facility.”

“The fact that we have come to the point that we can offer private rooms and have a place like Cheney to give families that chance at great bonding, its just icing on the cake,” said Nurse Macy.

For the Durler family, the Cheney Family Place provided more then just a place to pass the time between hospital visits.

“What was nice about being here was there were other NICU families here so we could go to the kitchen and talk and cry and pass those milestones together it was a really good support system,” said Michelle Durler.

The Cheney Family Place and its staff are a link to the hospital, a gathering place, and a home away from home. They are all available for families going through some of the most difficult times in their lives.

“It was a God-send having these people here,” states Durler.

For more information, visit www.asantefoundation.org. You can also call C.J. McPhail, the Development Director at the Asante Foundation, at 541-789-5025.

2 comments

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  1. Peggy Utter says:

    I was lucky enough to stay at the Cheney house when my daughter was born. My daughter had to stay in the NICU for 30 days. It was and emotional roller coaster ride and the house and staff gave me the space to cry, time to figure out things, and feel safe and close to my daughter. Without Cheney house being an option for me I would have had to drive back and fourth three hours to visit and care for my daughter. That was 12 years ago and I still remember that place and try to make donations whenever I can. My daughter still sleeps with the blanket that was given to her from the wonderful staff.

    1. Grant Walker says:

      Thanks, Peggy, for the comment. I work at Asante and we greatly appreciate your support for the Cheney Family Place, it has helped so many people. And thank you KDRV for doing the story!

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