Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco
The Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco Lodging Program provides temporary housing, volunteer-prepared meals and many other supportive services for families whose critically ill children are receiving specialized treatment in a San Francisco hospital. Our Ronald McDonald House creates a home-like environment where family members find comfort from other families facing similar circumstances. The caring volunteers and staff provide emotional support and a listening ear.
The high cost of hotel rooms in San Francisco is unaffordable for the families we serve. If it were not for the Ronald McDonald House, parents and family members would resort to sleeping on hospital chairs or in their cars.
Our goal is to keep families healthy, strong and pulling together at a most difficult time in their lives. Siblings, grandparents or other supportive relatives are welcome to stay at the House with the parents. Grandparents or other adult relatives often stay at the House for part of the time, enabling a parent to travel back to work or take care of other obligations.
Families are prioritized on the basis of financial need, distance from their home, and length of stay – the longer the projected stay, the higher the priority. The House staff is committed to keeping the House at full capacity so as not to let a room go unused for a single night. Though families are asked for a modest $10 contribution toward their stay, no family is ever turned away because of inability to pay.
In January of 2008, volunteers and staff successfully piloted the Child Bedside Program at the UCSF Children’s Hospital, Parnassus Campus, in which volunteers visit young patients and their families in-hospital, bringing beverages, supplies, a listening ear and a caring heart. Through this program, the Ronald McDonald House of San Francisco seeks to serve families who are camping out at their child’s bedside out of the enormous need to remain close to their child.
Child’s Bedside Program volunteers are screened and receive specialized training. Volunteers visit families in eleven major units of the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, including intensive care units. This program has been so well received by families and the UCSF staff that we continue to add volunteer shifts. Our Child’s Bedside Program served more than 2,500 families in 2011and reaches out to families, including local Bay Area families, who do not need to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, but nonetheless benefit greatly from the comfort and respite provided by our caring staff and volunteers.
The Parent Support Events help parents of critically ill children get to know each other and build a supportive community within the hospital. Developed in collaboration with the Family Advisory Council of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, these peer support events include a simple meal and supportive conversation, during which House and UCSF staff, including social workers and child life specialists, are available to assist parents. The program has grown to holding monthly gatherings for over 1,000 family members annually.