Today, RMHC’s ability to provide family-centered housing is increasingly challenged as house and room designs no longer match the needs of families in today’s health care environment. Both Primary Children’s Medical Center and the University of Utah Medical Center (our two largest sources of family referrals) are currently underway with significant expansion plans. Increases in the number of patients they serve will inevitably lead to significant increases in the number of families seeking help from RMHC.
Hospitals are now discharging child patients quickly into outpatient care. When we opened the first Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in Utah in 1988, parents alone stayed at RMH. Today we see mom, dad, sister, brother and often the patient themselves. They all need an affordable, comfortable and supportive place to call home while medical care is provided for the child. Currently, RMHC has very few rooms designed to accommodate the entire family including the patient.
522 families were turned away in 2011 because we did not have rooms that could accommodate them.