Seattle's Bailey-Boushay House

Author: Thomas C. Weiss
Published: Thursday 23rd April 2015
Summary: People come to the Bailey-Boushay facing a number of challenges including those who have HIV/AIDS, are homeless and destitute.

In the city of Seattle, Washington people come to the Bailey-Boushay facing a number of challenges. The majority of those who come to the house have HIV/AIDS, while others are homeless, destitute, or are alone in the world. Some of the people who come to the house are even near death.

The Bailey-Boushay house provides excellent care to people with HIV, promotes their health and well-being, as well as their functional independence. The goal of the house is to ensure that everyone with HIV/AIDS in the Seattle community has equal access to positive outcomes. Those who work at the house work together with an emphasis on accepting all people, safety, compassion and the dignity and autonomy of individuals.

The fact of the matter is that many of the Bailey-Boushay house's patients are disenfranchised and not usually provided with the simple care and respect every human being deserves. People who come to the house are facing serious health issues, but they have been under-served and overlooked by the system. When they come to the Bailey-Boushay house; however, they find staff members who really do care and an environment that nurtures every person.

Via medication management, counseling, music and art therapy, structured activities and conversation – the Bailey-Boushay house strives to foster a sense of pride, independence and creativity in each of their clients. The Bailey-Boushay house has two programs – the Inpatient Program and the Outpatient program, which are setup to meet the at times complex needs of residents and clients. The house does this whether the person's needs are physical, emotional, spiritual, mental or medical in a way that assists them to live with dignity.

The Bailey-Boushay House and Virginia Mason

The Bailey-Boushay house, which was built by AIDS Housing of Washington, opened its doors on June 24th of 1992 as America's first skilled nursing facility. It was funded, planned, built and staffed to meet the needs of people living with AIDS. Virginia Mason, a leading health care provider in Seattle, has operated Bailey-Boushay house since the day it opened.

Virginia Mason works to make sure that people who come to the Bailey-Boushay house receive the best quality health care available. On December 1st of 2007, in conjunction with World Aids Day, ownership of the Bailey-Boushay house was transferred to Virginia Mason's Health System. The transfer ensured a sustainable future for Bailey-Boushay house within the Virginia Mason Health System.

Bailey-Boushay House History

The year of 1987 found the number of people with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) increasing in King County, Washington as they were in the rest of the United States of America. At the time, AIDS was considered to be fatal. Hospitals balked at the idea of having to handle all of the people who potentially had AIDS, while individuals, insurance companies and government medical programs absolutely cringed at the prospect of having to pay $600-$800 per day in hospital costs. Still; for increasing numbers of people - AIDS was becoming a part of their lives:

People's hearts froze when their own blood tested positive for the HIV virus. For Betsy Lieberman, these aspects of the AIDS crisis, as well as a close friend being diagnosed with HIV, came together when she was deciding what to do next after a long and successful career as Clinic Coordinator of the Pike Place Market Community Clinic. At the time, the seriousness of the epidemic was incredibly obvious, yet the federal government's response was very slow.

A few foundation's with vision were starting to fund innovative approaches to service delivery. Betsy heard about a job funded by a small part of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant which was earmarked to plan for the housing and long-term care of people with AIDS; the spark for Bailey-Boushay house was lit. Bailey-Boushay House was named after Thatcher Bailey and his partner, Frank Boushay – who died of AIDS in the year 1989.

Betsy and her associate, Chris Hurley, deserve a lot of the credit for the success of Bailey-Boushay House, not only in the past but in the present. Betsy is Founder of AIDS Housing of Washington, while Chris was Bailey-Boushay's first Executive Director. Betsy and Chris worked together closely during its startup and it was not an easy time.

While Bailey-Boushay House was named after Thatcher Bailey and his partner Frank Boushay, who died of AIDS in 1989, the house is not about them according to Mr. Bailey. Thatcher is an articulate, animated and gentle person who is filled with humility when it comes to the namesake thing. Thatcher stated, "I was just one of an army of people who helped at the beginning. My job was to be an advocate, to raise money and be a public face for the cause. I contributed what I could, but this home has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the amazing universe of people who lived here, died here, and cared for people here."

Artwork at Bailey-Boushay House

People who are involved with Bailey-Boushay House share a belief that people with life-threatening diseases should be allowed to receive care in a place with an atmosphere of inherent humanity. What better expresses our collective humanity than artwork? In the Bailey-Boushay House you will find artwork throughout the facility in public spaces and niches. You will find artwork in two and three dimensions.

The common thread of the artwork is not AIDS or memorialization. Instead, the artwork is a life-enhancing presence throughout the house. It is a celebration of human dignity and potential, as well as an inspiration to everyone who explores the house. The art program at Bailey-Boushay House offers day clients and residents the chance to create and express themselves. Some people desire to paint a simple picture, while for others it eases their pain while helping them to be in the present. For still others – it creates a legacy. Yet the aim of the artwork is the, 'grand prize,' or the completion of artwork. People at Bailey-Boushay House feel empowered as they work to achieve their art.

Board of Directors

Bailey-Boushay House

The Art Program at Bailey-Boushay House

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