The first Ronald McDonald House - RMH built within Minneapolis Children’s Hospital was recently highlighted on the local news this week, making it only the fifth in the nation. The Frick Family, interviewed as one of the first guests of this valuable means of support to families with sick children, spoke many of the same words of truth I also had years ago.
This type of temporary housing need wasn't one I ever considered my family requiring until we found ourselves, “on the other side of the fence”, which were actually some of the same words spoken by the Frick Family in their interview. In the case of critically ill children being away from home is an additional stress that’s often under stated in the medical arena, but dramatically impacts a patient and their family’s human experience, affecting the medical outcome.
There were days during Michael’s hospitalizations where being just a few steps away was simply too far from him and his fragile condition. We learned some creative methods in an attempt to acquire a short rest and yet be near our critically ill son’s hospital room. A make shift bed consisting of two pieces of furniture from the family lounge, pushed slightly together in an odd L-shape, was my least favorite.
Never guests of the RMH since our home is less than an hour’s drive from Twin Cities area hospitals, we still had the distinct pleasure of getting to know many families residing there while their children fought a medical battle. Their stories of appreciation and gratitude despite being away from home and extended family always increased my gratefulness for the times we returned home to ours. However, a home away from home such as the RMH inside Minneapolis Children's Hospital can meet the needs of parents not able to step away from the hospital due to a child's medical condition but still in need of respite, regardless of the distance they traveled to get there.
Be The Change supports every effort being made that gives families a place to call home in the midst of medical crisis. Kudos to Ronald McDonald House, Minneapolis Children’s Hospital and everyone involved with creating a one of its kind in the Midwest! Representing the patient family perspective through Be The Change, I’m confident that when we partner together in shared responsibility, tremendous needs are met for patients and families and demonstrate the true meaning of patient family centered care.
We all need a place to rest but even more so when the unthinkable is happening to one of your children. It provides room for each of us to Be The Change.