AKRON, Ohio — The Grace House in Akron opened in September as a way to serve people who are at the end of their life but do not have caregivers or a safe place to live. The facility recently partnered with the University of Akron School of Nursing to help students learn more about hospice care.
Grace House co-founder Cindy Browning explained the care center runs entirely off of donations and grants and residents never have to pay a dime for the care they receive.
“We don’t charge. We don’t charge insurance,” Browning said. “Everything we provide here, they never get a bill. From food to care, linens and even clothes sometimes.”
Browning said there are only about a dozen of these free-of-cost comfort care facilities across the county, but she is hoping that will change.
“Since September, we have served 30 residents,” she said. “That feels really good. Of those people, I think seven have been truly homeless, off the streets and the rest just need a space that they can be.”
Natalie Truelson is a senior nursing major at the University of Akron School of Nursing and is about to graduate. She said through the partnership, her time with the residents at the Grace House has been both meaningful and educational.
“You really get to know the residents deeply when you come here and you visit with them and interact with them,” Truelson said. “Be present for them in the moment where they are at, I think that is as important as anything else, it is a critical lesson that goes hand in hand with nursing I think, and direct care.”
Although Truelson’s semester is coming to an end, she plans on continuing to work at the Grace House as a volunteer.