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Family Rooms Bring Peace of Mind

RMHC cares for families with children who are ill or injured by providing physical and emotional support to all family members. This month, we’re featuring a few ways RMHC helps support the mental health and well-being of families through our Family Room programs worldwide.

Ronald McDonald Family Room programs provide a quiet place for families, inside the hospital, to recharge, grab a nutritious bite to eat, shower or even spend the night. The first Family Room opened in the U.S. in 1992 to ensure families had a place to regain their own strength without being more than steps from their child’s bedside.

Carolyn (pictured above) was a frequent Family Room visitor at the hospital in Kansas City during her daughter, Amya’s, cancer treatments. Carolyn credits the time spent in the Family Room as helping her “keep the rest of her life in order during the difficult time.” She shared: “I remember being so mentally exhausted from seeing my daughter in so much pain.” The Family Room gave Carolyn a place to decompress, get a moment of peace and quiet, and collect herself so she could continue to be strong for Amya during their long days of treatment at the hospital.

Family room nyc

Similarly, the Family Room programs within the New York City public hospital system help provide hope and support for families with children battling pediatric cancer and other serious illnesses. The spaces provide caretakers with essential resources and a serene space to relax and take care of themselves.

"We are immensely grateful for the Family Room and the profound impact it had on us. We created countless memories that I will cherish forever.," shared one mother.

family room singapore

Since 2018, the Family Room at Woodbridge Hospital in Singapore has been a welcome respite for parents with children receiving care through the Institute of Mental Health. This hospital is the only one in Singapore that specializes in psychiatry, and families find the Family Room helps nuture their own healing journey as well.

After years of emotional battles at home, and several mentally taxing visits with doctors and psychologists, Mabel’s two children were prescribed regular treatment at the Institute of Mental Health. During their treatments, Mabel found relief and support in the Family Room.

“The Ronald McDonald Family Room became an oasis in the middle of our appointments and therapy sessions. I was even able to take needed power naps while waiting for my children’s therapy sessions to end. I don’t know what we would have done without its presence during that difficult time.”

family room fiji

In Fiji, the introduction of the Family Room program, also in 2018, has been transformative for families. First-time mother, Setaita recounted her experience:

"Our journey was far from easy. My baby Asinate endured multiple transfusions, and there were moments when her condition was critical, leaving me heartbroken." The Family Room ensured Setaita could receive the support and resources she needed to cope, while also being at Asinate’s side.

family room central ohio

More recently, a new Family Room opened at the first pediatric behavioral health hospital in the U.S.– Nationwide Children’s Hospital Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion. It was at this location where Erin Rugg, a board member with RMHC Central Ohio, found the solace she needed to cope while her daughter underwent treatment for coexisting conditions a few floors away.

“Mental health issues are always hard,” said Erin Rugg. “But, when it’s your ‘little’, they’re really hard. The Family Room staff members comfort you, welcome you and get you anything you need. These things seem simple, but when you’re trying to work and attend therapy sessions at the same time, not to mention eat and rest, that support means the world.”

Today there are over 270 Family Room programs in hospitals around the world. Learn more here: Ronald McDonald Family Room Programs

Bookmark rmhc.org/Our History to read even more stories of RMHC impact since 1974.