Since launching its first Ronald McDonald House in 1974, Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) has expanded to provide support programs for families worldwide dealing with childhood illness. The charity has also expanded its services to include pediatric medical and dental care programs in underserved communities. Today, RMHC operates at least one of the following core programs on nearly every continent:
Ronald McDonald House Programs
At the heart of RMHC’s work are its Ronald McDonald Houses. These facilities are located near major children’s hospitals and provide parents and other family members with a comforting and supportive environment where they can focus on caring for their sick children. Families who must travel for their children’s medical care are able to stay at a Ronald McDonald House free of charge with other families going through similar experiences.
In addition to lodging, the Ronald McDonald House programs provide home-cooked meals and various support services, including education programs, sibling support services, and children’s art therapy. With their proximity to hospitals, the houses enable parents to better communicate with their children’s medical teams and participate in their care. Being close to the hospital also provides psychological benefits for families, and parents report getting better quality sleep and having more positive hospital experiences. To date, there are more than 375 Ronald McDonald House programs operating worldwide.
Ronald McDonald Family Room Programs
As a complement to the Ronald McDonald Houses, RMHC operates Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, which provide a safe haven for families directly inside their children’s hospital. There’s no waiting list to receive access to a Ronald McDonald Family Room. In fact, the spaces are open to any family who has a child receiving care in a hospital where one of the rooms is located. Currently, there are more than 265 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms operated by local RMHC chapters.
While the amenities vary, most of the rooms provide private bathrooms and shower facilities, Internet access, and a kitchen with snacks. There are also sleeping rooms where families can take a nap and, in some cases, stay overnight. Many of the rooms also provide medical reference books and a quiet room for reading and simply relaxing outside of a clinical environment.
Ronald McDonald Care Mobile
To help the millions of children around the world who don’t have access to basic medical and dental care, RMHC launched its Ronald McDonald Care Mobile program. Working in partnership with clinical service providers, the program delivers medical diagnoses and treatment and dental services via 40-foot vehicles. Each vehicle is equipped with many of the same diagnostic and treatment tools found in office-based medical clinics and is staffed by medical and dental professionals such as doctors, nurses, dentists, and dental hygienists. The program, which includes over 45 Care Mobiles, serves children and young people from birth to 21 years of age, and no one is turned away for an inability to pay.
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles provide services specific to the communities they serve, but these typically include immunizations, well-child visits, and primary care for common health issues. Some vehicles also provide prenatal care for pregnant teens and mental health assessments. Preventative and restorative dental care is offered as well. In addition to providing direct care for children, teens, and young adults, the program delivers health education and resources, including nutrition counseling and oral hygiene education.
More information about RMHC’s core programs and the ways you can support them is available at http://www.rmch.org.
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