A Fisher House is “a home away from home” for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. The homes are normally located within walking distance of the treatment facility or have transportation available.
The Fisher Houses located on Naval Support Activity Bethesda support patients and families receiving care at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC). There are five Fisher Houses located on the installation, including the very first Fisher House ever built, which opened in 1991 and was dedicated by President George H. W. Bush. Between the five houses, there are 73 suites available to WRNMMC patients and their families.
The houses are 5,000 to 16,800 square foot homes donated by the Fisher family and Fisher House Foundation. All are professionally furnished and decorated in the tone and style of the local region. The houses can accommodate 16 to 42 family members. They feature a common kitchen, laundry facilities, spacious dining room and an inviting living room with library, and toys for children – several of the houses also include a playroom as well. The three newer houses are 100% handicap accessible and include elevators.
One of the Naval Support Activity Fisher Houses is dedicated to housing the patients undergoing out-patient treatment at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence for Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health. This house was specifically designed to provide a healing and restful environment for these patients, with soothing colors and other evidence-based design features that have been shown to improve well-being for those with brain injuries.
Fisher Houses are given to the U. S. Government as gifts. Military service secretaries and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the homes. The Fisher House Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, builds new houses, and assists in the coordination of private support and encourages public support for the homes. Criteria for eligibility are established locally by the installation commander. Families do not pay to stay at a Fisher House.