When a child is critically ill or injured and must be hospitalized for more than a few days, the cost and stress on parents and families can be high. Ronald McDonald House was created to help alleviate at least some of that burden. The facility offers families accommodation, meals, community and other comforts near the hospital while their child is being treated.
This month, Ronald McDonald House Charities in Seattle unveiled its newly expanded facility, including 25 new rooms for families with critically ill children. The $1 million project was funded by the owners and operators of McDonald’s restaurants in Western Washington.
Warm beds, homey atmosphere
The Seattle facility, located near Seattle Children’s hospital, offers a total of 70 rooms, a far cry from the 20 rooms the house made available to families when it opened in 1983. The organization has paid particular attention to the public spaces that surround family rooms, striving for a warm, welcoming atmosphere that helps guests feel “at home.”
With a 97% occupancy rate, Ronald McDonald House serves more than 450 families each year. That’s 28,000 nights of housing annually.
Members of one family stay in a single private bedroom equipped with two beds, a private bath, a telephone, a television and DVD player and internet connection. With hotel and Airbnb rates skyrocketing, the house helps ease at least some of the financial burdens families face when a child is ill. Outside their rooms, guests share communal spaces including kitchen and dining rooms, large living rooms and a computer room. The house also has a stocked library, laundry facilities, a teen room, indoor and outdoor play areas, an exercise room and a theater.
A ready pantry
Ronald McDonald House also helps families defray the costs of food. The facility’s pantries are well stocked with grab-and-go snacks as well as full meal ingredients. The recent expansion includes a volunteer kitchen where volunteers can make home-cooked meals for residents.
Ronald McDonald House offers special accommodation for families of children undergoing bone marrow transplants. Such patients require isolation and aren’t able to live in communal housing. The house reserves 10 furnished, self-contained apartments for them and their families.
Learn more about Ronald McDonald House, becoming a house guest, volunteering or otherwise giving time or resources to critically ill children in-need by visiting rmhcseattle.org.