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Aspirus Wausau Hospital "breaks walls" on new Family House for long-term careSubmitted: 06/25/2019
Story By Lane Kimble

Aspirus Wausau Hospital
WAUSAU - The process of building families and patients a comforting place to stay during long-term hospital care got started in Wausau on Tuesday in an unconventional way.  Instead of a "groundbreaking," Aspirus held a "wall-breaking" ceremony.

The hospital invited staff to smash a hole in the drywall inside a building that will get converted into a "Family House."  Aspirus held a brief ceremony before the smashing at the facility on Westhill Drive.

Aspirus raised more than $4 million to make the 10-room, 10,000 square foot building a possibility. Five of the rooms are for shorter stays, while the other five are suite-style for treatments that can last weeks or months.

The hospital rolled out its plans in January, then bought an existing building right across the street.

"Best practice would dictate that you're not in the hospital, but very close," Aspirus Wausau Hospital President Darrell Lentz said. "The fact that you can see the hospital from the windows brings comfort, not only to patients, families, but also the medical community providing care."

Patients and families will be able to stay in the building for free, but there is a suggested small donation.

Lentz says the service will mean fewer people needing to rent hotels or even stay in RVs.

"Having a facility where they can stay for free is very comforting," Lentz said. "It takes a lot of stress away and they can focus on healing."

Renovations will run through the rest of the year, with a grand opening planned for January 2020. Lentz says there is room for expansion into the parking lot. The hospital could add six to eight rooms, if needed.

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