Meet Suzanne Corey Gwynn. She’s going to build a house in Seattle, Washington. It’s not going to be a small little house, but a big house. Suzanne is not an architect with a blueprint or even a carpenter with a hammer. She’s a registered nurse with a vision and the house she is going to build is no ordinary house.
Suzanne has spent the last 32 years being a nurse and intensely caring for children and young adults with life limiting and very serious illnesses. A huge number of the patients she cared for were from other states that do not have a children’s hospital, therefore many of the families were forced to temporarily relocate to the Seattle area for specific specialized care that was unavailable in the region nearest to their home. She has watched the children deal with their illness and watched their families while they attempted to be there and support their child and live away from home near the hospital.
The vision that Suzanne has is to build a palliative care and hospice home to serve all the families who need it so desperately. Seattle Washington is a unique and prime location for a home to be established, specifically because Seattle’s premier hospital systems serve patients from the states of Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho. This is where her “Ladybug House” will serve a special purpose for these patients and families. It will be a place for families from near and far to live together in community, growing and supporting each other through life-limiting illness.
Ladybug House is a pioneering service that will add to the palliative care that already exists in the hospital setting by creating an environment where that same level of care can be provided in a community home setting equipped to care for complex diseases. One priority in current palliative care is enabling people to be cared for in the place of their choosing and the hope is that patients and families will find Ladybug House to be the best choice during this essential time. The model of care at Ladybug House will be holistic, integrative, and life-promoting; these elements together will create a health-enhancing cooperative effect for patients as well as their families and friends.
We salute Suzanne in her efforts to give specialized care to children and adolescents with life limiting illnesses. The service that Ladybug House will provide is so greatly needed. In the United States there are over 3,000 adult hospice care facilities and over 400 just for pets. Only 2 hospice care homes exist for children: George Mark Children’s House in San Leandro, CA and Ryan House in Phoenix, AZ. In the United Kingdom there are 53 homes and our neighbors in Canada just built their eight home. Hopefully, Ladybug House will be the third in the US with a long chain of others to follow.
Editor’s Note: Because of her efforts and the unique home she plans to build, Suzanne was invited to the White House on June 18, 2014 where she was able to collaborate with others and garner more support for her vision.
Suzanne’s dream has already attracted an amazing team of volunteers. If you would like to know more about Suzanne’s vision or be a part of it, she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Joe Baber