Support for families
We provide free accommodation and support for families with seriously ill children in hospital.
We’re here to help
Our Houses provide a free and welcoming place to stay, available to families with children being treated at our partnered NHS hospitals across the UK. Families with a child in hospital can stay with us for as long as they need to.
Getting a place to stay
First, you’ll need to find out if there is a Ronald McDonald House at the hospital where your child is being treated. Then, to be allocated a room, you’ll need to be referred by the hospital team. Your child’s nurse will be able to contact the House on your behalf.
What to expect during your stay
All Ronald McDonald Houses have everything you would expect to find in your own home. Our Houses have ensuite bedrooms with a phone line direcly linked to the hospital, a kitchen and communal areas, and some have outside space. Families staying with us can cook, play, rest and be together, all the time knowing that they are only moments away from their child in hospital. We also run activities so families and children staying with us can have a break away from the hospital ward.
Your most popular questions
Can I book a room in advance?
Families can stay in our Ronald McDonald Houses for as long as their children are in hospital. This means it isn’t possible for us to know when a room will become free, so we aren’t able to pre-book rooms. The only exception is our House at Moorfields Eye Hospital. As the Hospital carries out mainly elective surgeries, we are able to pre-book rooms.
How long do I have to wait for a room?
There is no standard waiting time for a room. When a House is full or very few rooms are available, we have to prioritise families based on several factors, such as the distance travelled from home, the severity of the child’s illness and the length of time expected to be in hospital. It does often occur that a family who has only just arrived at hospital gets the next room available.
How long can I keep a room?
Families can stay in a Ronald McDonald House for as long as their child is in hospital.
How much does it cost to stay in a Ronald McDonald House?
It’s completely free. We ask for a £25 key deposit which is refundable once you check out, although you can choose to donate it to the Charity.
Can a child on the hospital ward come and visit the House?
If your child’s medical team have said it’s okay for them to leave the hospital and visit the House, and the House Manager is comfortable with the decision, they can visit the House and your allocated room.
Is there free Wi-Fi in the House for me and my family to use?
Families are able to make use of our free Wi-Fi throughout the Houses. We’ve even had parents work remotely.
Can we have visitors to the Ronald McDonald House?
We encourage all families staying with us to invite their friends and family to the House, to spend time with them and to get support when needed.
What facilities are in the House?
All our Ronald McDonald Houses are unique, but they all provide en suite bedrooms; most of the bedrooms can accommodate up to four people. They also all provide laundry rooms and communal kitchen / dining facilities and space to store your food. Our Houses offer toys for children and most contain fully equipped playrooms and large lounges. Some Houses have gardens or balconies.
Can I still use the facilities if I have not got a room in a Ronald McDonald House?
Absolutely. Many of our Houses offer the Day Pass system. This means that families who either don’t need a place to stay or there is not a room available, can still use the communal facilities. They can prepare food, wash and relax away from the ward.
Whose responsibility is it to clean the bedrooms and dishes?
Our housekeeping teams clean the House regularly and ensure bedrooms are in a good condition for a new family to move in. However, it’s the responsibility of each family to clean their own bedroom during the length of their stay, just as you would at home. We also expect all families to clean up after themselves if they use the communal living facilities, such as the kitchens.
If a family doesn’t need a place to sleep, or are awaiting allocation of a room, we invite them to use our facilities during the day. Ask your hospital team for more information about Day Passes.
How we help
We provide practical and emotional support to families staying with us and there are often communal events in the House for siblings to enjoy.
You’ll need to ask the team at your child’s hospital to refer you, before being allocated a room at the House.
Since 2012, we’ve increased the number of families we support by 93%.
Thanks to our newest Houses, we’ll soon be able to help even more.
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