It’s something no one likes to talk about but people are relieved to have access when the service is needed. End-of-life care will soon be provided in Visalia at no cost to families.

A nonprofit organization that will be funded solely by community donations has been formed, and on Friday, June 10, at 10 a.m., the home will be dedicated and remodeling will begin. The new Ruth Wood’s Open Arms Home is located at 3234 W. Iris, Visalia.

The dedication is in honor of Ruth Dunagan Wood (1940-March 2016), who supported hospice for many years and was a founder of Hospice of Tulare County in the mid-1980s. Ruth’s husband, Harry Wood, will be at the dedication and the renaming of the house to the Ruth Wood’s Open Arms Home. 

“Ruth’s Home” is a licensed, community-supported home for individuals whose medical needs will be managed by the hospice agency services in Tulare and Kings counties. Ruth’s Home will allow residents to die peacefully in a home-like setting, explained Carol Nickel of Three Rivers, president of the board of The Open Arms House Inc., the nonprofit group overseeing Ruth’s Home and its services. 

Currently, there is a grassroots effort to establish such homes across the nation, and Ruth’s Home in Visalia will be one of just four in California. The home will be available to anyone 19 years and older who is enrolled in a hospice program and can no longer remain in their own home. 

The cost of care, which is estimated to be $300 per resident, per day, will be provided at no cost to families, thanks to generous community support. 

“Our vision is that this home will provide end-of-life care where every life matters to the very last breath and no one dies alone,” said Carol. 

“We are grateful to all those who have believed and participated in this mission to care for the dying, our very generous donors, and to the City of Visalia for helping us to expedite remodeling,” she continued. “We expect to open in early 2017.” 

The public is invited to attend the dedication and tour the house prior to the start of remodeling. 

For information on how to support or to volunteer with the Open Arms Home, contact Carol Nickel, (559) 280-0640.

Originally Published 06/03/16 on Kaweah Commonwealth.