Outline the vision and mission of the Organisation
The mission of RMHC Ireland is to provide a Ronald McDonald House in order to support families whose children are seriously ill in hospital. The Ronald McDonald House provides accommodation and a caring and supportive environment for families whose children are seriously ill and are hospitalised or undergoing medical treatment at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin 12. It provides evidence based quaternary, tertiary and secondary quality care to children & adolescents in a safe environment driven by knowledge through education & research.Many families travel far from home to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children. Often, it can be a long time to be away from home, from family and from friends. For children facing a serious medical crisis, nothing seems scarier than not having their mum and dad close by for love and support. Our Ronald McDonald House program provides a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalised child at very little cost. Our House is built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on healing their child – not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night to rest.
How has the Organisation developed and tackled issues?
The first Irish Ronald McDonald House opened in 2004 with 16 bedrooms. Due to growing waiting lists RMHC acquired a house across the road from the hospital which was converted into another 4 bedrooms in 2010. RMHC have always been challenged with the 20 bedroom capacity limit. Unfortunately demand is much higher than supply and so often, there are times that we have to turn families away due to availability. The two Houses annual running costs are approximately €500,000. While the House provides a key resource and essential support for families while their children are sick in hospital, the Ronald McDonald House Charity currently receives no government or HSE funding and so this too can also be quite a challenge.However, RMHC Ireland have been looking to expand their mission for quite some time now in response to our capacity shortfall and so have been granted planning permission to build a New 53 bedroom Ronald McDonald House beside the New Children’s Hospital. RMHC have been working closely with the New Hospital Group Board and the HSE in order to open this House when the hospital opens in 2022. We are currently working hard to raise the necessary funds (€17M) to make this new House a reality.Another challenge RMHC have been faced with was proving our meals for families. It has always been our preference to provide a nice home cooked meal for our families on a daily basis to relieve them of the stress of having to worry about shopping and cooking. For the first 10 years RMHC really struggled to have a consistent flow of volunteers into cook and feed our families. However, now since the Cooking4Families programme was introduce we are now booked for up for the full year.
The service the Ronald McDonald House Charity provides is unique in Ireland. We provide the entire family with a bedroom and other facilities for the duration of their child’s stay in hospital. Families who stay in the Ronald McDonald House tend to have the sickest children, travel the furthest and have the longest hospital stays. The average length of stay is 24 nights. The longest stay was 619 nights.International Research shows that RMHC and the Ronald McDonald House program:
• Supports a family’s psychological well-being by keeping them close together and providing emotional and physical comfort and support.
• Helps alleviate the financial stress of accommodation needs.
• Results in better sleep quality for parents which gives them the rest they need to make critical decisions related to their child’s care.
• Helps families cope better and focus on the needs of their sick child when they have support from family members and other families.
• Allows children to express their emotions and feel a sense of normalcy in the face of stress and medical trauma through play spaces at the Ronald McDonald House.
• 40 percent of families served at Ronald McDonald Houses have children in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)Medical references as below:
1. Sanchez et al. Archivos Argentinos de Pediatria (2014)
2. Franck et al. Families, Systems & Health (2013)
3. Franck et al. Behavorial Sleep Medicine (2013)
4. Wray et al. Journal of Child Health Care (2011)
5. Naboras et al. Issues in Comprehensive Paediatric Nursing (2013)
Dexter et al. Journal of Perinatology (2004)
How can the public support this work?
Over 40 RMHC Volunteers play an important role in the day-to-day operations of the Ronald McDonald House®.Our volunteers help us provide compassionate hospitality by lifting the spirits and brightening the days of our families. They provide administrative support, help keep our House clean and tidy, offer family support and greet families with welcoming smiles and listening ears. House Volunteers serve for 4 hours weekly or bi-weekly and must be 18 years or older. Many who are unable to volunteer on a regular basis may choose to participate in a volunteer project or one of our special events. Their help enables us to provide a clean and comfortable ‘home away from home’ for our families.RMHC also run a Cooking4Families programme whereby corporates and individuals come in on a daily basis and cook for our 20 families. Our #Cooking4Families Programme allows us to provide a free meal every day for our families. Having a home-cooked meal after a long and often times stressful day at the hospital and a good night’s sleep is enormously important for our very stressed and traumatized families who are far from home, families and friends at a very difficult time.
How is the Organisation transparent and accountable?
All documents relating to RMHC Ireland finances and governance are published on our website for the public to view: www.rmhc.ie
1. Charities Institute Ireland Triple Lock Standard
2. Legal Information
3. Commitment to Standards in fundraising practice
4. Legal Information
5. GDPR Policy
6. The Governance Code
7. Annual & Financial Reports
9. Terms & Conditions
10. Charities Institute Ireland Triple Lock Standard