Ronald McDonald House Adelaide is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that provides accommodation and practical assistance to approximately 350 families each year who live further than 100kms from Adelaide, with seriously ill or injured children who are being treated at nearby Women's and Children's Hospital.
No one is ever prepared for the devastating news that their child is seriously ill. It is an emotionally draining time for the entire family. The family’s life is turned upside down and one question becomes imminent: Where can we stay to be close to our child?
Ronald McDonald House Adelaide is a ‘Home Away from Home’ for many families of a child with a serious illness. Research by Daniel et al. Rural and Remote Health (2013) shows that Ronald McDonald House reduces stress and financial burden for families when they are far from home and accessing medical care for their child.
The House is just a short walk from the Women's and Children's Hospital, which means that children undergoing treatment can have their family nearby at all times. This close proximity also sometimes provides the opportunity for ill children (if they are well enough) to reside at the House with their parents and siblings, and go to the hospital for daily treatment. A study by Franck et al. (2013) of over 2,000 family members confirmed that staying close to the hospital reported benefits for the family experience for their psychological well-being and for their perceptions of child recovery.
The House provides more than just accommodation; the support families receive from the House Manager, volunteers and other families in similar situations helps them cope with the challenges they are facing. While nothing can detract from the worry experienced by a family with a seriously ill child, the House helps to alleviate some of the logistical problems faced by these families. Families no longer have to repeatedly travel long distances, sleep in waiting rooms or in chairs in wards, or pay for hotel rooms, in order to be close to their child.
Most importantly, the House provides an opportunity for the whole family to remain together during one of the most critical times in their lives.
The average length of stay for families at Ronald McDonald House is increasing as children undertake more complex medical treatment thanks to advances in medical technology. In addition, hospitals are treating more long-term children as outpatients – which, for those visiting from a long way from home, means they can stay in the Ronald McDonald House rather than in the hospital.
The House is best described as communal living with motel-style sleeping accommodation. Bedrooms vary in size and make up however can accommodate up to 5 family members. The House has the capacity to accommodate up to 20 families each night.
The House is a ‘home away from home’ and vitally important for the families it supports. Families staying at the House draw warmth, laughter and inspiration from each other as they journey a similarly challenging path. The House is a place where everyone understands the importance of small ‘wins’ and the celebration that comes with these, as well as the empathy and outpouring of love needed for those facing a time of immense sadness in their life.
Our other core program, The Ronald McDonald Learning Program is also run from the House. This program helps primary and secondary school children recovering from serious illness catch up with missed education. We provide individual learning programs tailored to the specific needs of each child. From improving numeracy and literacy skills to identifying and addressing learning strengths and weaknesses, we aim to make the journey back to school as smooth as possible, while also giving children a much needed boost to their confidence and self-esteem.
Therefore our short term goals are helping families during a period of intense stress and anxiety through accommodation, however our long term goals including helping many of these families once their child is well enough to return to school through the Ronald McDonald Learning Program to help them catch up on missed schooling.
Donate to us and help us to keep families close.