After nearly seven months of construction, the new Ronald McDonald House® inside Mercy Children’s Hospital is now open and serving families of children who are hospitalized. The new 8,200-square-foot facility is located on the sixth floor of Mercy Children’s Hospital, and can house up to 10 families every night. In addition, families of pediatric patients not requiring overnight stays can benefit from the services of this “home away from home” during daytime and early evening hours. “We have been anticipating this special day for many years,” said Bonnie Keller, President & CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®) of the Ozarks.
Mercy has provided more than 8,200 square feet of space for the new Ronald McDonald House featuring ten bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. Mercy is also contributing significant ongoing operational support including utilities, phone and internet service, linens, towels and maintenance services. RMHC of the Ozarks is responsible for the costs of infill, fittings, furnishings, supplies, ongoing staffing and operational costs.
The House features large common areas, including a living room, dining room, kitchen, playroom, gathering room, laundry center, computer nook and public restrooms. The proposed site for a new pediatric intensive care unit (PICU)is located right next to the new House, convenient for families of some of Mercy’s most seriously ill children. In addition to providing overnight accommodations for up to 10 families each night, all families of pediatric patients are welcome during daytime hours to catch up on e-mail, have a snack or meal, do laundry, take a nap, and most importantly, have some downtime to talk with family, friends and other families in similar situations who truly understand. New moms can be near their babies in the intensive care nursery and have access to breast pumps within the House. This daytime-only feature allows even more families to benefit from the Ronald McDonald House.
“We recognized several years ago that the families of Mercy’s most seriously ill children receiving treatment in the burn unit, St. Jude-affiliate clinic, NICU and PICU were not comfortable leaving the hospital to benefit from our Ronald McDonald House near Cox South,” said Bonnie Keller, RMHC president & CEO. “The opening of the Ronald McDonald House within the walls of Mercy Children’s Hospital will fill a significant need for these families.” Children that have the strong involvement and love of their parents recover more quickly than children who do not. The proximity of the House facilitates families having more time with their ill children and improved communication and collaboration between families and medical staff. Research shows family-centered care in the hospital facilitates better medical decision-making, reduces the isolation a child feels and helps children heal faster. The physical presence of a parent at the hospital improves a child’s ability to recover and manage the psychological symptoms of his or her illness.
On March 29, 2012, the RMHC Board of Directors formally announced construction of the new Ronald McDonald House and a 12-month fundraising goal that exceeds $1.6 million for construction, fittings, furnishings and supplies. Nearly $1 million has been raised to date. Community members are encouraged to contribute towards the capital campaign over the next four months, as well as consider becoming a House Volunteer and provide meals for the Family Dinner Program. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.RMHCozarks.org.
To contact the Ronald McDonald House inside Mercy Children’s Hospital, please call 417-820-0764.