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Issue Date: March 2008 Issue

A Haven at the Hospital

Ronald McDonald Family Rooms bring the signature RMH compassion inside the hospital doors.
Sometimes you just can’t go home. Many families stay at RMH, which is just a shuttle ride away from the hospital. Sometimes, though, a family is unable to be more than a few steps away from their child’s bedside. A waiting room with vending machines is hardly the atmosphere a family in that situation needs to get through the day.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room™ is a bit of home inside the walls of the hospital — a brief moment away from the hospital room environment.

RMH is proud to have opened the first two Family Rooms in the state of Ohio. The first debuted on February 8, 2006, at University Hospitals’ Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. Each year, the Rainbow Family Room sees more than 26,000 guests! The second Family Room opened its doors on January 9, 2008, at the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital. Every Family Room is an official program of RMH, and is made possible through a collaboration between the House and the hospital.

Guests are greeted by kind, knowledgeable volunteers who staff the room from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. The room offers services such as a television lounge, a kitchen with light refreshments, computers, telephone access, a children’s play area and laundry facilities. The staff and volunteers of the Family Room work closely with hospital staff to provide the most comfortable and relaxing environment possible for families like Elana Walker-Frans and her son Jonathan, who live right in the heart of Cleveland.

Jonathan has been treated at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital for a rare bone cancer for years. Once the doctors had pushed his cancer into remission, Jonathan had a major setback from a staph infection. Elana spent all day by his side. She lived not far away and didn’t need a bed at RMH, but she did need a break once in a while.

The Family Room became her haven. As a self-employed tax accountant, she was able to bring her laptop to the room and keep in contact with her clients. Plus, she could grab a quick snack from the kitchen instead of traveling all the way to the cafeteria. However, it wasn’t the physical amenities for which Elana was most grateful — it was the kindness of volunteers who gave her a shoulder to lean on.

Elana had to endure every parent’s worst nightmare: the thought that her child may not make it through the night. The volunteers were beacons of reason during her personal tempest. They offered her hospital resources, but they also served as a temporary family. Elana is forever grateful for her son’s wonderful recovery and current health, and also to the Family Room for its part in helping her weather the storm.

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