Study Concludes That the Ronald McDonald House Program Helps Children Heal Faster and Cope Better

First Published Research Explores How the Role of Family-Centered Care Enhances the Psychosocial Well-Being and Clinical Outcomes for Seriously Ill Children

OAK BROOK, IL--(Marketwired - Jul 23, 2013) - A study published today in Families, Systems and Health, a journal of the American Psychological Association, finds that families who stayed together at a Ronald McDonald House®, for even a portion of their seriously-ill child's hospital stay, believed their ability to stay nearby helped their child recover and spend less time in the hospital. This is the first published research to explore the role of family accommodation in enhancing the family experience, psychosocial well-being and perceptions of child recovery for hospitalized, seriously-ill children. 

The study, funded by the UniHealth Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®), gathered more than 2,000 surveys over a three-year period from family members who stayed at one of five Ronald McDonald Houses in Southern California while their child was hospitalized at a nearby children's hospital.

"This study suggests that parents believe there is a clinical benefit to their sick child of onsite or nearby accommodation for them. Beyond the benefits to parents, this reinforces the important role that accommodation services, such as those provided through the Ronald McDonald House program, play in enabling family-centered care for children and families who require extended hospital care and who must travel far distances to receive this care," said Dr. David Herman, president & CEO of Vidant Health and an RMHC, Inc. board of trustee member.

Write-in comments offered further insight into the challenges faced during a child's hospitalization and the impact of the Ronald McDonald House stay on their family. Parents referenced the enormous financial burden they face and how the House program helped offset some of these pressures; the important psychosocial support they received from other families going through similar circumstances, staff, and volunteers; and the greater participation they were able to have in their child's health care and recovery by being close by.

"Recognition of the importance of the patient and family experience of care has steadily grown over recent decades," said lead author Dr. Linda Franck, chair of the Department of Family Health Care Nursing at the University of California-San Francisco.

"Hospitals should evaluate the impact of their overnight accommodation services on family proximity, experience and child recovery, and understand the important role these services play in enhancing family-centered care for pediatric patients," added co-author, Nicole Rubin, former CEO of RMHC of Southern California.

RMHC provides resources to more than 7 million families in 58 countries and regions through 329 Ronald McDonald Houses, 189 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, 49 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles, as well as global grants to other charitable organizations that work on behalf of children. In 2012, RMHC was honored by the American Hospital Association for being an exceptional partner in the delivery of health care services, a testament that RMHC is part of the continuum of care that facilitates improved outcomes for children. The nonprofit also helps lessen the financial burden for parents with sick children saving families $311 million annually in hotel costs alone.

About Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities® (RMHC®), a non-profit, 501 (c) (3) corporation, creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children. Through its global network of local Chapters in 58 countries and regions, its three core programs, the Ronald McDonald House®, Ronald McDonald Family Room® and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile®, and millions of dollars in grants to support children's programs worldwide, RMHC provides stability and resources to families so they can get and keep their children healthy and happy. All RMHC-operated and supported programs provide access to quality health care and give children and families the time they need together to heal faster and cope better. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter (@RMHC) or like us on Facebook ( Global).

About the UniHealth Foundation

The UniHealth Foundation is a nonprofit philanthropic organization in Los Angeles, CA, whose mission is to support and facilitate activities that significantly improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities within its service area. For more information, visit

The following trademarks used herein are owned by McDonald's Corporation and its affiliates: Ronald McDonald House Charities, Ronald McDonald House Charities Logo, RMHC, Ronald McDonald House, Ronald McDonald Family Room, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. 

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