Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southwest Florida
What is the Ronald McDonald House®?
A Letter from our Executive Director, Laura Ragain
Since 1996, the Ronald McDonald House® in Fort Myers has welcomed thousands of families from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades, and Hendry counties while their children received treatment at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida or other local medical facilities. Our “home-away-from-home” means a great deal to those we serve. Our family-centered programs effectively improve the clinical outcomes and experience for the children and their families.
Our support efforts were further enhanced with the addition of the Ronald McDonald Family Room®, located on the second floor of Golisano Children’s Hospital. There, all families with a child in the hospital can stop by for a sandwich, a quick snack, a cup of coffee, or just close their eyes for a few minutes without having to be far from their child’s bedside.
Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southwest Florida (RMHC SWFL) also serves children far beyond the hospital walls. Through our partnership with Healthcare Network, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® brings medical and dental services to over 3,000 children annually in Collier County, right in their neighborhoods. Thanks to grant funding from RMHC Global, our Southwest Florida Chapter added a second Ronald McDonald Care Mobile to provide medical and dental treatment to the unserved and underserved children in Lee, Charlotte, and Hendry counties.
Family Health Centers of Southwest Florida is our partner in providing services that include dental screenings and varnishes to children at Title 1 schools, free and reduced lunch schools, and other underserved communities. It is truly an honor to be part of an organization whose mission is to create, find and support programs that directly impact the health and well-being of children and their families.
We are grateful for our thoughtful and tireless volunteers, community partners, unwavering staff, and board members consistently coming together to support our mission of keeping families close.
How We Help
A family's life stops overnight when faced with a child's illness. Parents enter a world of fear and worry. There's an added stress for parents who don't live close to the medical care their child requires. Most families must travel hours for treatment. Living expenses quickly add up. Long drives, lost jobs, worried siblings, sleeping in cars, being far from family and friends are extra burdens no family should have to experience. With the generosity of our community the efforts of our volunteers, staff, and local McDonald's restaurant owner-operators, we are meeting our mission through three core programs:
Ronald McDonald House®
The Ronald McDonald House of Southwest Florida is a "homeaway-from-home" for families of seriously ill or injured children receiving medical treatment at Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida or other local medical facilities. Serving families who must travel far from home, the House is much more than a room to stay in. It provides support and resources for families, just steps from the hospital. Our 24/7 facility has private bedroom suites with bath, fully stocked kitchen, dining room, living room, and laundry room. Families are asked for a modest donation of $10 per day to cover a small portion of the actual cost of the stay. However, no one is ever turned away because of an inability to pay.
Ronald McDonald Family Room®
The Ronald McDonald Family Room offers all patient families a place to rest and regroup at the Golisano Children's Hospital. Paper bag meals, coffee, snacks, etc., are provided free of charge!
Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®
The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Program – dental offices on wheels – offer a solution by caring for thousands of Southwest Florida children in underserved communities each year. In addition, medical and autism screenings are offered on a limited basis throughout the year. A family's life stops overnight when faced with a child's illness. Parents enter a world of fear and worry. There's an added stress for parents who don't live close to the medical care their child requires. Most families must travel hours for treatment. Living expenses quickly add up. Long drives, lost jobs, worried siblings, sleeping in cars, being far from family and friends are extra burdens no family should have to experience. With the generosity of our community the efforts of our volunteers, staff, and local McDonald's restaurant owner-operators, we are meeting our mission through three core programs:
The Ronald McDonald House®
Who can stay at the House?
Criteria for Family Stays:
- Ronald McDonald House programs offer rooms for families of pediatric patients 21 years old and younger.
- Up to four immediate family members (mother, father, siblings) and/or legal guardian(s) are eligible to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Any other family members must be approved by RMHC SWFL staff.
- Families may stay as long as their child remains in active treatment. Families are required to check out on the day of their child's discharge.
- Family members/legal guardians must pass a background check, provide a photo ID, complete the registration/orientation process, and agree to Conditions of Stay.
- We suggest a modest donation of $10.00 per night to cover a small portion of the actual cost of a family's stay. However, no one is ever turned away due to their inability to pay.
Medical personnel can submit a referral by visiting rmhcswfl.org/request-to-stay.
What can families expect?
Once a family is approved and has arrived for their appointment, they will meet with an RMHC SWFL associate to complete the check-in process. During check-in, the family will receive a welcome packet, a House tour, review the House rules and responsibilities, discuss check-out procedures, and become familiar with House staff. Families will also receive a key to their private room. Once the check-in is complete, families can return to the hospital, relax in their room, enjoy a meal in the dining room, or spend time in any common areas within the House.
The Ronald McDonald House offers the following:
- Private Bedrooms: Includes two queen-sized Tempur-Pedic® beds, writing desk, armoire, closet, mini-fridge, full private bathroom (handicap accessible available), and a personal telephone line equipped with voicemail.
- Living Room: Cable TV and a DVD player are provided in the living room. There is space available for puzzles, reading, and more.
- Food/Meals: We have a kitchen and pantry, both well-stocked with donated and purchased food for our families. We also have a large, family-style dining area. We try to provide a hot meal every evening. (On evenings a meal is not prepared, residents are encouraged to use our kitchen facilities).
- Security: Cameras monitor the House 24 hours a day. The House is staffed daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. The House/Resident Manager (or Weekend Manager) remains onsite, and on-call from 9:00 pm to 9:00 am, seven days a week.
- Internet Access: Wireless internet is available free of charge.
- Transportation (only applicable to families with children staying at Golisano Children's Hospital): Weather permitting, Golisano Children's Hospital provides a courtesy shuttle service that runs continuously Monday thru Friday. Evenings and weekends based on availability.
- Laundry: Residents have free use of our washers and dryers. There is access to the laundry room from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Laundry detergent and dryer sheets are provided.
- Quiet Room: A private room to escape and relax, complete with a comfortable seating area, dim lighting, and a tranquil water feature.
- Lanai: Get some fresh air and sun in our screened-in lanai, complete with a relaxing seating area.
- Information Board: Residents are kept up to date with the daily postings of House activities.
- Tours: Available upon request prior to check-in.
Why should a family stay?
Research shows that the Ronald McDonald House program:
- Supports a family's psychological well-being by keeping them close and providing emotional and physical comfort and support.
- Enhances the hospital experience for the child and the family.
- Helps alleviate the financial stress of accommodation and travel.
- 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.
Ronald McDonald Family Room®
Who can use the Family Room and what can they expect?
The Ronald McDonald Family Room offers all patient families a place to rest and regroup on the second-floor of the Golisano Children’s Hospital, free of charge!
The Ronald McDonald Family Room is an extension of the services provided at the Ronald McDonald House. Located Golisano Children’s Hospital, our Ronald McDonald Family Room offers parents a place to rest and regroup while being just moments away from their sick child. Research shows that staying close by allows parents to better communicate with their child’s medical team and improves adherence to complicated treatment plans
Complimentary Services for Families:
- Bagged lunches
- Coffee, water and snacks Laundry facilities
- Internet access
- A seating area with a television
Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®
Who does the Care Mobile visit and what can they expect?
For children without access to regular dental care, the lack of preventative measures and untreated cavities can lead to a variety of oral diseases. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Program – dental offices on wheels – offer a solution by caring for thousands of Southwest Florida children in underserved communities each year. In addition, medical and autism screenings are offered on a limited basis throughout the year. Through philanthropic support and our partnership with Family Health Centers of Southwest Florida and Healthcare Network, we have not one but two Care Mobiles to serve Lee, Hendry, and Collier Counties.
- Dental screenings
- School medical physicals
- Head Start screenings
This Care Mobile visits 14 Title 1 schools (those with a high percentage of students from low income families), as well as select after-school programs and a variety of family-oriented festivals.
Family Health Centers of Southwest Florida
- Prevention: Providing dental education, which reduces overall dental costs, addresses behavior and lifestyle choices, and helps motivate families to improve and maintain a healthy smile.
- Treatment: Providing screenings, x-rays, varnish and sealants.
This Care Mobile visits local schools during the school year in Lee + Hendry counties
Family Story: The Chung Family
Home: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Why in SWFL: Visiting family
Their Story: "I was living in Philadelphia at the time because my husband was a coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, but I had gone down to Fort Myers to visit my parents. Unfortunately, I was put on bed rest for preeclampsia, so I could not leave Fort Myers. I ended up having to go in for an emergency C-section at Golisano Children's Hospital. Our baby Mason was born six weeks early at 4lbs 9oz. He ended up having to spend one month in the NICU. The NICU nurses and Ronald McDonald House are the only good memories from a very scary ordeal. Ronald McDonald House employees were so great, and that's why we feel so strongly about your organization. We met the most amazing people! Once we were back in Philadelphia, I continued giving back to RMH by donating and cooking Christmas dinner for those staying there at the time. Now, we are living back in Southwest Florida! Mason attends school at Community School of Naples. Until this day, Mason always asks about giving toys to sick children in the hospital. I believe it's because of the amazing connection we had with the Ronald McDonald Houses."
Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southwest Florida, Inc.
16100 Roserush Court, Fort Myers, FL 33908
Email: [email protected]