Bailey-Boushay House

Bailey-Boushay House - Oral History

Don Moreland on Bailey-Boushay House

Don: I’m on the executive committee now.

Interviewer: What changes have you seen going on there since you got involved?

Don: It’s the changing face of AIDS, actually. The mission of Bailey-Boushay has been to serve people with HIV and to have good outcomes, to the best of our ability, for everybody. When Bailey-Boushay was built -- it’s the first stand-alone high-intensive nursing situation for people with HIV. The skilled nursing that’s received by people at Bailey-Boushay is above a regular nursing home care, so you’re dealing with a higher level of nursing care in a facility meant for people with HIV.

The facility itself-- there isn’t anything quite to compare it to because it is a stand-alone, with artistic work in there and the ambience of the place is just extraordinary. ...

The artwork upstairs that most people never get a chance to see because it’s not open to the public is quite extraordinary. ... There’s a piece of art in every room, and some of the stuff is just terribly, terribly interesting. And donations of art continue to come to the place all along, because AIDS has had such an impact in the arts world. But going back to the level of care -- the face of AIDS has changed. Now we’re dealing with, for example, a high, high percentage of people with mental illness, drug addiction, and alcoholism. You take those three and put them together and I’d say 85 percent of the people being served there now fit within one of those three categories. Add a fourth to it, which would be homelessness, and you’ve really captured the picture of what’s happening. At the same time, Bailey-Boushay provides a level of care that’s not obtainable elsewhere, and it’s a real asset to the community. ...

We just wish the outcomes for some people were better. We’re now seeing people return, whereas when it was first built, you went to Bailey-Boushay House for a comfortable exit from life while your immediate needs were being taken care of with this high degree of skilled nursing. Now people go there and have the prospect of going back home. We have some people who go out, come in, go out and come in, and the day health care program serves many, many people. The day health care program is much more popular with people who are homeless who might not be able to take their regimen of drugs on a regular basis, so the place provides a place for them to wash clothing, for a lunch, or for a breakfast, and also to get their meds each day. ...

If you go to work at Bailey-Boushay House, you’re in a special environment. And a lot of people have been there for a long, long time -- staff who like being able to be of assistance in this area, both gay and non-gay. It doesn’t matter whether you’re gay or not gay, if you fit into that atmosphere -- it’s a special place to work.

Don Moreland, interview by NWLGHMP, tape recording, Renton, WA, 2 February 2006.