With the growing caregiver crisis in end-of-life care and the inadequate resources of the health care system, Omega Homes have emerged as havens of comfort, peace and support for people in need who are dying. These homes are known informally and collectively by many different names, including Social Model Hospice Homes, Comfort Care Homes, and Homes for the Dying.
What's an Omega Home? It's a home that's:
- designed for and totally focused on non-medical care at the end of life
- independent and a freestanding 501c3 nonprofit organization
- in a collaborative working relationship with the resident’s hospice (medical) care team
- not a hospital, nursing home, hospice, or medical facility
- funded by community and family support
- staffed by volunteers and/or paid caregivers who are considered “extended family”
- complementary and not duplicative to what already exists in the community
- created by the local community for the local community
- reflective of the spirit of the people and the culture of the local community
- inclusive and open to all people, according to local regulations
- simply “home and family” and carries the heart of everything that means
Our innovative model of non-medical care in a community home offers a comfort-based, person-centered home-away-from-home for people in the last months and days of life. Varying in size, appearance and internal policies, yet sharing a common foundation and philosophy, there are currently 100+ open or developing Omega homes located in multiple states across the US.
Hildegard House, in Louisville, Kentucky, has been serving three individuals at the end of life since 2016. We were always full and almost always had a waiting list. We are unique among some comfort care homes in that our residents are served by volunteers, called Compassionate Companions, and we do not charge a fee for care. We care for those in the last three months of life who are homeless or have no loved ones to care for them.
In May 2022, Hildegard House purchased an 883 sq. ft. home conveniently located across the alley from our current house. We totally renovated the house, thanks to a jumpstart $100,000 award from Impact100, a local women's group. This home, called Hildegard on Story (because it is located at 1427 Story Avenue) doubles the number of beds and allows us to serve nearly 70 individuals each year.
The new home has three bedrooms, a kitchenette and is ADA-accessible with wide doorways and halls and an accessible bathroom. We added a lift for entry into the home so that individuals who are transported via ambulance or stretcher and others in wheelchairs can access the building.
It takes 84 Compassionate Companions a week to staff both houses. We are serving six residents at a time. This growth has stretched us! But, it is a joy to be able to serve more people that need our service. We have served over 200 people since 2016. We are back to having our beds full and having a waiting list.
Executive Director, Hildegard House - Louisville, KY