Families Who Stayed At Ronald McDonald House Reported More Positive Overall Hospital Experiences In New Study

Survey of families with hospitalized children demonstrates positive impact of Ronald McDonald House on family experience

Las Vegas, Nevada (April 24, 2015) – A study published in Medical Care Research and Review finds that families of hospitalized children who stayed at a Ronald McDonald House reported more positive overall hospital experiences than families who stayed in other accommodation types, such as in the child’s hospital room or even in the family’s own home.

“This study confirms what we see every day at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Las Vegas” said Alyson McCarthy, Executive Director. “The accommodations and support we provide help families cope with one of the most stressful situations imaginable.”

The study, “The Child and Family Hospital Experience: Is it influenced by family accommodation?” was led by Dr. Linda Franck, Chair of the Department of Family Health Care Nursing at the University of California-San Francisco and supported by a grant from Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).

Dr. Franck and her team added questions about accommodation to standardized inpatient pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit family experience surveys at 10 U.S. hospitals. The first-of-its-kind study aimed to determine the accommodation types used by families, compare characteristics across accommodation types, and explore the influence of where families stay when their child is hospitalized on overall hospital experience outcomes.

Based on 5,467 survey responses, accommodation type was a significant predictor for the three hospital experience outcomes studied. Families who stayed at a Ronald McDonald House reported that it helped them be more involved in their child’s care, gave the hospitals higher overall ratings, and more often would recommend the hospital to family or friends compared with parents who stayed elsewhere.

The study’s authors hypothesized that the supportive services in the House, communal housing that facilitates social support from other families having a similar experience, and “home away from home” approach may account for its stronger association with positive hospital experiences.

“Family health care experience is increasingly recognized as an important indicator of the quality of care for hospitalized children, but little has been known about how family accommodation affects the family’s hospital experience,” Dr. Franck said. “Our findings suggest that providing supportive family accommodation is a quality-distinguishing activity and this should incentivize hospitals to innovate in providing family-centered facilities and support services.”

As the only facility of its kind in Las Vegas, the Las Vegas Ronald McDonald House provides an oasis of comfort and care for families during a stressful and unsure time in their lives. The best medicine for a sick child is to have mom and dad at their side – the House makes this possible by enabling families to be together while their child receives treatment away from home.

The House can accommodate up to 12 families at a time, and offers bedroom suites, play areas, TV rooms, a fully stocked kitchen, laundry facilities, and lounge areas. We ask for a $10 per night donation, but no family is turned away because of their inability to pay.

Since opening in July of 1998, the House has served 3,940 families for a total of 46,046 nights. In 2014, the House served 199 families, 433 adults and 193 children for a total of 3,510 nights. The average length of stay was 13 days, and the House saved families over $412,800 in lodging costs in 2014 (based on 2014 average nightly lodging rates in Las Vegas of $117.63.)

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