It's been a year since Trinity Guest House first opened its doors. Since then, it has offered a place to stay for more than 1,000 family members of those critically ill in Trinity Hospital. The Guest House was gifted to Trinity by a Minot family.
"We never expected it to be utilized as much as it is. But before (the Guest House opened), if the motels in town were full, it's tough for people to find a place to stay. I'm not sure where they went then, I think some ended up sleeping in the hospital lobby," Amy Moen, director of the Trinity Health Foundation, said.
Of the guests who have stayed, 75 percent have been from outside of Minot, while approximately 25 percent have been from out of state. This May was the Guest House's busiest month yet, with nearly an 80 percent occupancy rate.
Katina Tengesdal/MDN - - Amy Moen, director of the Trinity Health Foundation, begins a tour of the Guest House.
The guests themselves have been leaving positive feedback about their stay in the guest books provided in each room.
A family from Regina, Sask., who had twin babies at the hospital's Family Birth Center, wrote: "I really appreciated the Guest House. For one thing, it is so close to the hospital. You just don't want to be very far away when you have babies in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit."
Jessica, of Danville, Ill., wrote: "This house was such a blessing. The staff and volunteers were comforting and understanding. Even though I lost my brother in the end, the Guest House enabled me to be with him during his final days."
The Guest House has 12 guest rooms that include private washrooms, two gathering rooms with kitchenettes, two laundry room areas, and a night manager's apartment. From the apartment, the manager has access to security cameras that monitor what's happening in the building.
"At first, I was concerned about the fact that there were no telephones or TVs in the rooms, but people have been thrilled with how quiet it is. Also, we have decorated with warm colors, so it's not stark hospital white," Moen said.
"Guests like the security of knowing that the building is locked down at night, that they get their own private parking, and they appreciate the price," she added.
For a room at the Guest House, the recommendation is a $20 donation per night. While check-in hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., if families need to check in during an emergency, the hospital supervisor will notify the Guest House's night manager. Guests also have the convenience of being across the street from the hospital.
Moen is optimistic that the Guest House will continue to be a good addition to Trinity Health's services.
"Everybody that stays here is just so appreciative. During the week it is quieter, but most weekends now, we're pretty full," Moen said.