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Most recently updated on April 10, 2013
If you need to plan for accommodations, speak to the social worker or visitor services department at the hospital where you need to be. Some hotel chains provide rooms to a family at no charge if a child must go into the hospital for an early-morning or overnight procedure. Local hotels may give discount rates or provide guest rooms through the American Cancer Society. The National Association of Hospitality Houses (800-542-9730, www.nahhh.org) lists private homes that may be available during an extended stay.
Lodging at Ronald McDonald House
Being close to your child will no doubt be very important to you and will enable you to cope with your situation more easily. The Ronald McDonald House is a national network of temporary housing facilities for families of children with life-threatening illnesses who are hospitalized far from home. If you have to travel more than 2 or 3 hours to and from your medical facility, consider staying at a Ronald McDonald House.
At a Ronald McDonald House, families may stay together and live in a comfortable home-away-from-home environment while their child is being treated. Families benefit from emotional support from staff members and volunteers as well as from other families who face similar situations. Your child will take comfort from knowing you are nearby. Siblings can often visit the hospital and share experiences with their family. Be sure to find out what the minimum age for a visitor is at your child’s hospital.
There is usually a nominal fee for this housing, based on a family’s ability to pay. Reservations should be made several weeks in advance by your child’s pediatric social worker.
For the telephone number and location of individual Ronald McDonald Houses, contact the national headquarters:
Ronald McDonald House Charities
One Kroc Drive
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
If there is not a Ronald McDonald House in the area where your child is being treated, there may be similar organizations, such as Winn-Dixie Hope Houses (in the southeast). Ask the hospital social worker.
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