Those who work with people with AIDS deal with the end-of-life process more often than they would hope. As medical prognoses turn for the worse, many clients come to places like Park House seeking help as their lives come to an end.
Not all stories end there. Jack came to Park House for help in making preparations for death. But it wasn’t long before he returned to his artistic pursuits and joined the church choir with the help of a new medical regimen and a great supporting staff.
Park House got under way on World AIDS Day in 1996 with a primary service of being a respite care center for persons who at the time were considered to be in the “end stages” of AIDS-related illnesses.
According to Park House Manager/Development Associate Jim Maurer, “Park House modeled itself after a similar, pioneering program that had opened earlier in Seattle, Washington: the Bailey-Boushay House.”
With medical advancements that helped those with HIV/AIDS live longer, respite care became less of a need.
By 1998, Mauer relates, “Park House had shifted its focus to serve adults living with HIV/AIDS who need a supportive environment, and who have an impairment in a major life skills area or are diagnosed with mental illness.”
Today, Park House has been certified by the State of Minnesota as both an adult day health center and a mental health day treatment program delivering rehabilitative mental health services. It provides structured day health/mental health treatment programs that offer, among other things, supportive nursing care, psychosocial support, and creative and complementary therapies. Unique to the entire Upper Midwest, it is one of only a handful of such facilities in the country.
In the future, Park House plans to continue helping those affected by what is being termed “early-aging effects,” which include rising cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, neurological dysfunction, and more.
Maurer states, “Park House is committed to helping individuals cope with the stresses brought on by life with HIV/AIDS over the long haul. Park House has always been able to adapt its programming to the ever-changing episodic nature of the epidemic, and we expect to be able to continue our service.”
Park House has helping not only those with HIV/AIDS, but also smaller groups that don’t have a place of their own. In the past, it has assisted the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus during rehearsals, and The Aliveness Project in storing ever-growing supplies used in its Holiday Baskets.
During the Pride Festival, Park House can be found at its usual booth, which it shares with Allina’s Infectious Disease Clinic (better known as Clinic 42) and The Doctors. The organization will be participating in the Red Ribbon Ride, as well as coordinating Camp Benedict for the third year in a row August 18-22.
For more information, stop by the Pride booth, or contact the office.
2120 Park Ave., Mpls.