New Burn Family Suites at St. Joseph Hospital to begin with a bang

Northeast Indiana Burn Council logo.

Press release from the Northeast Indiana Burn Council, Inc.:

New Burn Family Suites at St. Joseph Hospital to Begin with a Bang
Wall Demolition to Signal Ceremonial Start of Construction

The Northeast Indiana Burn Council, Inc. is set to observe the ceremonial start of construction on an area devoted to families of patients being cared for at the St. Joseph Regional Burn Center. The Burn Family Suites of Northern Indiana will be a place for families to rest, reflect, and regroup. To mark the occasion, officials from the burn council, St. Joseph Hospital and other honored guests will gather at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 5, in Suite 301 of the attached Medical Office Building at St. Joseph Hospital to kick the project off with a bang.

“Demolishing a wall is our version of a groundbreaking,” explained Doug Rodenbeck, chair of the burn council board. “We are converting an existing space in St. Joe’s medical office building, so no dirt needs to be moved—but several walls will need to come down.”

The burn suites will ultimately feature four separate sleep rooms; bathrooms; a common area with internet access to allow families to update their communities on their loved ones’ progress; a kitchenette with a microwave and refrigerator; and a laundry area.

“The suites are designed to be a quiet place away from the burn center for families to sleep, eat and shower,” added Rodenbeck. “At the same time, the rooms are only minutes away should there be an emergency. We expect this resource to be a great comfort for families during a time that often involves a lot of stress.”

Substantial donations by the SDI Foundation, the Lions Eye and Tissue Bank of Indianapolis, and
St. Joseph Hospital, as well as support from more than 30 Indiana Lions International Clubs and several Leos clubs, helped make this project a reality.

The St. Joseph Regional Burn Center admits patients from all over the tri-state region. Families from outside of Fort Wayne often spend hours, and occasionally days, in the burn center’s waiting room while a loved one is receiving care.

“The addition of the burn suites will help provide for the emotional and physical well-being of individuals who are so important in the patient’s recovery,” said Sheryl Mourey, administrative director of the critical care division at St. Joseph Hospital. “We are grateful for all the continued support this community lends to our burn patients. This resource will be a very positive addition to our delivery of unsurpassed burn care.”

The development of the burn family suites has been a collaborative effort among several local organizations. Ongoing financial contributions will be required for the nonprofit burn council to maintain operations.

“We have been planning these rooms for over three years, and we are grateful for the support of these groups that have brought us to this point,” said campaign co-chair and board member Chris Weidler. “We still have a few final financial needs to complete the rooms, as well as ongoing operational support to keep the rooms going.”
Those interested in making a donation may contact the Northeast Indiana Burn Council at (260) 423-2221 or via e-mail at


About the Northeast Indiana Burn Council, Inc.:
The Northeast Indiana Burn Council, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that exists to help children, adults and families affected by a burn incident in Northern Indiana, Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan. We like to say that we “help with the healing during and after the hospital”, providing financial, in-kind and other assistance to Burn Survivors and their families, as well as educational support to the public about burn prevention.

Program & Activities:

The Burn Council programs are grouped into the following areas:

  1. Burn Prevention & Advocacy: this program strives to prevent burns and burn-potential situations for children and adults. The Burn Council will complement existing prevention programs and develop new initiatives to enhance the overall delivery of services to the community.
  2. Burn Survivor Assistance: established to help burn survivors and their families with limited financial means, this program provides temporary housing, food and other needs for families of inpatient burn victims; provides reduced or free treatment supplies and burn garments for outpatient burn survivors; provides assistance to individuals and families wishing to attend the World Burn Congress survivor convention; trains peer support counselors; and helps coordinate the Support Group for burn survivors and families.
  3. Youth Burn Camp: to help the healing and facilitate interaction with other children who are burn survivors, this program area underwrites the cost to send youth burn survivors from Northern Indiana, Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan to a regional youth Burn Camp. It generally costs $1,000 per child to attend a Burn Camp.

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