The Oklahoma City VA Health Care System has been selected as one of 12 sites to receive a Fisher House.
“This is great news for Veterans and their immediate family members. This will be the first Fisher House in the state of Oklahoma,” said Assistant Director Jeff Bennett.
A Fisher House is “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. These beautifully furnished and decorated homes enable family members to be close to their loved one during an extremely stressful time, hospitalization for a combat injury, illness or disease.
A stay at a Fisher House is completely free of charge
“Support from their loved ones plays an integral role in healing and recovery for Veterans,” said Bennett. “We are very grateful to VA and the Fisher House Foundation for approving our request.”
In the picture above, from left, Bennett, Audrey Umhoefer, public affairs officer, Tim Jenne, engineering foreman and Rowene Lant, chief of engineering, inspect the plans for the new Fisher House.
The VA Fisher House will support access to care for thousands of additional Veterans traveling to VA facilities for treatment. There is not yet a timeline for construction of the Fisher House.
These homes are normally located within walking distance of the treatment facility or transportation between the two is available. Typically, the houses are 5,000 to 16,800 square foot homes donated by the Fisher family and Fisher House Foundation. Each house is provides between 8 and 21 suites.
Can accommodate up to 42 family members
Fisher Houses are professionally furnished and decorated in the tone and style of the local region. The houses can accommodate 16 to 42 family members. They feature a common kitchen, laundry facilities, spacious dining room and an inviting living room with library and toys for children.
Newer houses are 100% handicap accessible and include elevators. A Fisher House is a temporary residence and is not a treatment facility, hospice or counseling center.
VA shares a long and successful relationship with Fisher House Foundation. Its first build was in 1994 and the program continues to experience growth in 2020. The VA Fisher House program plans to expand from 49 to at least 72 Fisher Houses by 2030.
The Fisher House Foundation constructs the homes on government land (military installations or VA facilities). On completion, the foundation donates the houses to VA or the Department of Defense (DOD). That organization then assumes responsibility for the operation, maintenance, upkeep, and staffing. There are 91 Fisher Houses internationally.
For more information on the VA Fisher House Program, visit www.socialwork.va.gov/fisher.asp.
Audrey Umhoefer is a public affairs officer for the Oklahoma City VA Health Care System.