The Ronald McDonald House Family Room (RMH Family Room), located outside the children’s ward at John Hunter Children’s Hospital in Newcastle, provides families with a supportive and comfortable place to take a break from their seriously ill child’s hospital bedside.
The RMH Family Room provides local families with a number of valuable services so they can focus on what’s really important – the needs of their sick child. The Lounge Area, sponsored by Port Waratah, gives families the chance to sit back and relax in a cosy and friendly non-hospital environment to play, read, talk and enjoy a break from the clinical hospital bedside environment. Families can take some time out, make a cuppa and enjoy a snack while still staying close to their child.
Young Kobe was diagnosed with a rare condition affecting his spinal cord and spent 12 months in care in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit. The RMH Family Room gave Kobe’s parents, Kristie and Michael a friendly and safe space out of the hospital environment.
“The Family Room gave us the opportunity to de-stress and disengage from the reality of living life in a hospital. The volunteers were always happy, welcoming and ready to have a chat. Being in the Family Room felt like a little escape from our clinical surroundings,” Kristie said.
The reach and impact of the RMH Family Room is enormous with many thousands of people like Kobe’s family using the Family Room each year.
Port Waratah has been involved with Ronald McDonald House Charities since 2010 and Port Waratah’s sponsorship of the Lounge Area has ensured the Family Room can continue to provide much-needed respite for many young families. The funding has also helped build on-going capacity, skills and knowledge of the volunteers to support families during a very stressful time in their lives.
Rohan, Ronald McDonald Family Room Coordinator, said, “Over the last decade I have managed the Ronald McDonald Family Room, and not a day goes by that I don’t overhear a parent or carer openly share how grateful and appreciative they are for the Room itself. The Hospital journey with a sick child can be overwhelming and the Family Room gives them a place to go to catch their breath, gather themselves in a safe space that feels like home but is adjacent to the Ward.
“During these challenging times, we are incredibly grateful for Port Waratah’s ongoing support, especially as COVID-19 has impacted our ability to fundraise. Thank you!”