Ronald McDonald Family Room Has Entered Phase Three of a Four Phased Reinstatement Process

Ronald McDonald House Charities® of the Capital Region is excited to announce that the Ronald McDonald Family Room®, located in the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med, is currently in phase three of a four phased reinstatement process!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ronald McDonald Family Room was suspended on March 18, 2020. However, RMHC-CR and the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med worked closely together to respond to a very unpredictable time through the temporary re-purposing of the Family Room throughout the pandemic. The Family Room provided a place of respite for healthcare professionals, was utilized as an area to store and gather supplies for the Hospitality Cart® and the Family Suite. An extension of the Family Room in the NICU was used as an office space for healthcare administrators.

Procedures for determining the special needs of the families and medical staff were put in motion through close coordination with Albany Med leadership, pediatric nurse managers, and with the Child Life Specialists. With the support of the Child Life Specialists, the Hospitality Cart was able to continue during a good portion of the pandemic and deliver basic necessity items, such as healthy snacks, beverages, comfort items, and fun activities to families’ bedsides, which brought smiles to children and parents when they needed it most.

Near the end of the summer, RMHC staff were able to continue operating the Hospitality Cart thanks to the support of many local businesses and McDonald’s restaurants. In 2020, the Hospitality Cart was visited by over 1,000 children and parents in the pediatric units at the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Med. However, in November, due to an increased prevalence of COVID positive patients throughout the Capital Region, RMHC-CR suspended the operation of the Hospitality Cart.

In coordination with Albany Med and RMHC Global, the reinstatement of the Ronald McDonald Family Room and the Hospitality Cart is due to an improvement in epidemiological data, positive testing rates, and vaccinations. Since reinstatement, the Hospitality Cart has served basic necessity items to 640 adults and children’s bedsides in the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital.

The Family Room was re-opened on April 19, 2021 in a four phased reinstatement process, with an emphasis on cleaning and disinfection. During the first two phases, the Family Room was staffed exclusively by RMHC personnel. We are now in phase three, and essential volunteers have returned in order to maneuver the Hospitality Cart throughout the pediatric units, to support the families and allow for additional hours of operation. The Family Room is currently open from 9:00am-3:00pm Monday-Friday, and we have extended our hours of operation into the weekend (9:00am-12:00pm on Sat. and Sunday). Since re-opening, the Family Room has received and provided resources to close to 100 guest families.