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FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

How does a family request a room at Ronald McDonald House?

As our House is normally full, we place families in need of a room on our waiting list.  All families are required to submit a Request for Lodging application in advance of thier stay. 

RMHC conducts a formal criminal background check on all individuals applying for temporary residence.  A background check authorization must be received from each individual applying to stay at least 2 business days prior to their arrival.    RMHC reserves the right to refuse admittance to any potential resident or guest with a criminal conviction.  RMHC does not admit anyone with a felony or misdemeanor conviction that may threaten the health, safety, welfare, and ability of other individuals to peacefully enjoy the House (e.g., violent crimes, domestic violence, child abuse, sex offenses, illegal drug activity and/or burglary). and authorization for a criminal background check in advance of their stay. 

Upon approval, the family will be placed on our waiting list.  Our waiting list is organized by the date of each patient’s first appointment.  The waiting list is neither a reservation nor a guarantee of a room.

We invite you to request a room by completing our online application at http://www.rmhcincinnatitools.org/guest/registration. Since there is always a wait list, we cannot accommodate walk-ins.

  •  Will the background check include a credit check?
    We do not conduct a credit check or see any credit history information.
     
  • One family member has been convicted of a crime, but others have not.  Does that exclude all members from staying?
    While the family member with the conviction may not be able to stay at our House, the rest of the family is still welcome.
     
  • May I speak to someone in more detail about my background check?
    You are welcome to call and speak to a manger about your personal circumstances. Most traffic violations will not be seen as a reason for denial. The decision to deny a family member is not made lightly.
What makes a family eligible for a room at Ronald McDonald House?

Any family whose child (aged 21 or younger) is receiving medical treatment (inpatient or outpatient) at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (“CCHMC”) or other area hospitals may request a room at Ronald McDonald House.  As our House is always full, families who live within a 40-mile radius of RMHC may stay at the House only under certain circumstances, described below:

Those families living within a 40-mile radius who have a child in the Cardiac Care Unit, Intensive Care Unit (“ICU”) or Regional Center for Newborn Intensive Care (“RCNIC”) may stay at the House as long as their child is a patient in one of these special care units.  Once the patient is transferred to a step down unit, the family will be asked to check out.  In the case of ICU or RCNIC, a family’s continued stay will be handled on a case-by-case basis at the sole discretion of the Guest Services Manager after consultation with the family’s social worker.

May a family stay at Ronald McDonald House if their child is being seen as an outpatient only?

Yes.  Families are welcome to stay at Ronald McDonald House if their child is being seen as an outpatient at least twice weekly at Cincinnati Children’s or, with pre-approval, another area hospital.  Exceptions to this may be approved on a case-by-case basis by the Operations Director. It is important to note the family may be required to show proof of treatment frequency to a Guest Services Manager.

Are there rooms available for shorter stays?

Yes.  We have ten rooms reserved for stays of 4 days or less.

  • These rooms can be booked up to 30 days in advance. 
  • Families are limited to two short term stays per month. 
  • Families may complete the check in process at any time during the day, however, the guest room may not be available until the afternoon or early evening.  Families are welcome to use our common areas until their room is ready.
  • Check out time for short stay rooms is 10 AM. 
  • Families who book a short-term room may not be on the regular wait list. 

To apply to stay in one of our short-term rooms:

1.    Contact our Short-Term Coordinator at 513-636-2304 or ShortTermRooms@rmhouse.org

2.    Complete our online registration and background check forms, http://www.rmhcincinnatitools.org/guest/registration.

Who may stay at Ronald McDonald House? Can other family members stay with a guest family?

Parents or legal guardians of any child may reside at Ronald McDonald House.  Parents are welcome to bring siblings, but note that child care is not provided, and an adult must supervise children at all times.

All overnight guests under 18 must be accompanied by their legal guardian.  In the case of an underage parent, that parent’s legal guardian (patient’s grandparent) or spouse over 18 must also stay to take responsibility for care of the minor.

Anyone outside the immediate family, such as an aunt, uncle or grandparent, must be helping to serve as support for the family and must be approved by RMHC management.  RMHC conducts a formal criminal background check on all individuals applying for temporary residence.  A background check authorization must be received from each individual applying to stay at least 2 business days prior to their arrival.    RMHC reserves the right to refuse admittance to any potential resident or guest with a criminal conviction.  RMHC does not admit anyone with a felony or misdemeanor conviction that may threaten the health, safety, welfare, and ability of other individuals to peacefully enjoy the House (e.g., violent crimes, domestic violence, child abuse, sex offenses, illegal drug activity and/or burglary).  

We can provide only one room per family.  In compliance with Fire Code Regulations, we do have a maximum capacity for each room. The maximum number of people per room is dependent on the size of the room. Rooms range in occupancy size from 2 – 6 people. Our largest rooms are for our transplant patients.

Is there a maximum age for the patients at Ronald McDonald House?

Yes, the patient must be 21 years of age or younger, excluding pregnant mothers receiving fetal care. All fetal care patients of any age must be accompanied by another adult who will take responsibility for their care.  

How many people can stay in a Ronald McDonald House room?

The number of family members per room depends on the room size:

  • Transplant room — 6 (these larger rooms are specifically reserved for families with children in isolation, normally after a transplant)
  • Medium room — 4 (majority of rooms)
  • Small room — 2
Are families permitted to have visitors?

Limited day visitors are welcome between the hours of 9 AM and 9 PM, but must sign in and out at the front desk.

The children living at Ronald McDonald House are medically fragile and highly susceptible to infections. Any person who has a physical condition that would endanger the health of our other guests, such as a cold or flu, chickenpox, etc., may not visit Ronald McDonald House. 

Can a family have more than one room; for example, a second room for a nurse or grandparents?

Each family may have only one room.  Although our House has 78 rooms, we are always full to capacity and always have a waiting list. In order to help as many families as possible it is necessary to make this limit of one room per family.

Is there a maximum length of stay at Ronald McDonald House?

Yes, families will only be allowed to live at our House for a maximum of two years per visit.

Can a family go home and keep their room?

The House maintains a long waiting list of families requesting rooms at Ronald McDonald House. If a family is unable to use their room at least once each day (24 hours), RMHC will request that they check out so that another family may be served. The family may request to be placed on the waiting list again once they have checked out of the House.

Is there a fee to live at Ronald McDonald House?

Ronald McDonald House encourages, but does not require, guests to make a donation of $25 per night, or whatever they are able, in order to continue the House operations for future guests.  Although our cost to continue operations is $99 a night per room to operate the Ronald McDonald House program, no family is ever turned away due to their inability to contribute.  Please discuss any questions with the Guest Services Manager.

We also work with families to see whether a third party, such as medical insurance, will pay.  If you have insurance or Medicaid, please contact them before coming to Ronald McDonald House to establish what is required for them to pay for your stay.

What can families expect when they arrive at Ronald McDonald House?

Families on our wait list will be contacted to schedule an appointment for check-in as soon as a room becomes available. The check-in process normally takes about a half hour and includes a review of House policies and procedures and a quick tour of the House. Families will be shown to their private bedroom/bathroom and provided with room fobs (keys). After this orientation, families are able to return to the hospital, relax in their room, enjoy a meal with their family in the dining room or spend time in any of the common areas within our House.

What do I need to bring with me to check in?

Please bring the following with you for check in:

  1. Your photo ID for all adults 18 and older who will be staying overnight.
     
  2. Your insurance/Medicaid card and information.
    (Some \ insurance/Medicaid companies will cover lodging, but you will need to contact them in advance of your stay for pre-approval.)
     
  3. $5 deposit per room fob (max 2 fobs per room/$10), cash or check only

Our House has an access control system to help keep our families safe.  Your deposit will be returned when you check out and return the fob(s).  Our on-site ATM will dispense in $5 increments and does not charge a fee (although your home bank may charge).

What does Ronald McDonald House offer?
  • Each family has their own room with one or two beds, private bathroom, mini-fridge, telephone for local calls, hairdryer, television, and DVD player.
     
  • The entire House is Wi-Fi enabled, and desktop computers are provided in our main family room and transplants suites.
     
  • Shared communal spaces include: kitchen and dining areas, large living rooms, a library, laundry facilities (washer and dryer - 75¢ per load), a game room, indoor and outdoor play areas and an exercise room.
     
  • We provide guest families with towels, blankets and other linens and ask only that guests take responsibility for keeping these items laundered during their stay.
     
  • We provide limited cleaning supplies and paper products.
     
  • We often have basic food items and toiletries available.
     
  • We have a limited number of wheelchairs, cribs, breast pumps, toddler beds, strollers, car seats and baby monitors.
     
  • Free secure parking for one vehicle only. Additional vehicles must be parked at the hospital.
Is food available at Ronald McDonald House?
  • Ronald McDonald House has two kitchens for our families to use.  Each family has their own small kitchen cabinet for dry food, as well as common refrigerator/freezer space with a marked basket. The kitchen is fully stocked with cooking appliances and utensils. Free coffee is available 24/7 and our vending machines offer Coke products for just 50¢. 
     
  • Through our Taste of Hope program, one of our chefs will lead meal volunteers (communicty civic groups, churches, businesses, etc.) in preparing nutritous and delicious meals for our guest families. These meals are only posible when volunteers sign up to prepare them. Sometimes, continental breakfast is available, and lunch and dinner as well. Howerver, there are also days when we have not had a meal group sign up to serve, and no meals will be provided. On these days, guests can still usually find something in our communal food supplies. 
     
  • We do have a communal pantry stocked with basic non-perishable food, as well as communal refrigerators with staple items like milk, orange juice, eggs, yogurt and more, depending upon donations.
What type of activities does the Ronald McDonald House offer for my children to enjoy?

Our House offers a variety of areas for children and parents to relax and have fun:

  • Play room
  • Game room with a pool table, arcade games,  Xbox 360 and Wii systems
  • Craft room
  • Games closet with puzzles and board games
  • Planned activities, such as puppet shows, musical performers, theatre performances and more
  • Therapy dogs
  • Teaching program for school-aged patient children who will be in the House for at least two weeks. 
  • Outside garden play area
  • Basketball hoops
What security measures are taken to ensure the safety of guest families?

At Ronald McDonald House, our top priority is the health, safety and well being of our guest families. For this reason, we have various policies and safeguards in place:

  • Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult relative or legal guardian. Patients over 18 must also be supported by an adult caregiver.
  • For your health, all families are screened by questionnaire to prevent the spread of infectious diseases throughout our Ronald McDonald House.
  • No weapons of any kind are allowed on the property, even if you have a license to carry a weapon (concealed or otherwise).

The safety of all Ronald McDonald House families is very important to us. Please speak with a Guest Services Manager if anyone planning to stay with your family has a restraining order or "no contact" order.

RMHC reserves the right to refuse admittance to any potential resident or guest with a criminal conviction. RMHC does not admit anyone with a felony or misdemeanor conviction that may threaten the health, safety, welfare, and ability of other individuals to peacefully enjoy the House (e.g., violent crimes, domestic violence, child abuse, sex offenses, illegal drug activity and/or burglary). 

RMHC also will not admit any individual who provides false, incomplete, or misleading responses during the formal criminal history background check process. 

RMHC, in its sole discretion, will make that determination before granting an individual’s application for temporary residence. 

RMHC also reserves the right to expel a guest for any other inappropriate, irresponsible, or criminal behavior that takes place while temporarily residing at the House.

Is there maid service?

No. Our volunteers are very generous with their time and energy in operating our House, but they are not asked to clean your room during your stay. Families are responsible for keeping their room in good condition, cleaning up after themselves in the kitchen and all areas of the House, and frequently laundering their bed linens and bath towels.

Can flowers, packages and gift baskets be sent to a family while they are staying at Ronald McDonald House?

Yes. We accept deliveries during normal business hours and will be happy to forward them to the family. However, because families sometimes check out unexpectedly, it is best to call ahead and confirm with the family that they are still staying with us before you send anything.

Our staff and volunteers are unable to accept any delivery of medical supplies or medications. A family representative must be present to receive such deliveries.

How close is Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to Ronald McDonald House?

Ronald McDonald House is directly across the street from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in easy walking distance.  It is less than 200 steps from door to door. 

See Map

Does Ronald McDonald House provide counseling?

There is no formal counseling program, but families do receive support from staff, volunteers and other families going through similar experiences.

Is smoking permitted at Ronald McDonald House?

There is no smoking anywhere inside Ronald McDonald House.

There is, however, one designated outdoor area for smoking. This designated smoking area is THE ONLY place smoking (including e-cigarettes) is permitted.  The rest of our House and grounds are smoke free.

Is there a curfew?

Although we have no curfew, the doors to Ronald McDonald House are always locked. Guests receive keys so that they may come and go to suit the needs of their children. During our quiet hours of 10:00 PM to 9:00 AM, guest may only exit/enter through main doors. We ask that all guests respect these quiet hours.

Will Ronald McDonald House provide me with transportation?

On weekdays (excluding holidays) Cincinnati Children’s provides continuous shuttle service on the half hour to/from Ronald McDonald House between 9 AM and 8:30 PM. The Ronald McDonald House shuttle service will take over at 9 PM and continue until 10:50 PM. The RMHC shuttle is by request only on the half hour.

On weekends and holidays, the Ronald McDonald House shuttle service is offered from 5 PM to 11 PM, on the half hour, by request only. 

Ronald McDonald House also offers shuttle service to area Wal-Mart, Kroger, Meijer’s and Target stores on selected days each week.  

Is there babysitting service?

No. Parents are required to be responsible for their own children and provide supervision at all times. Children under the age of 18 ‑ and any patient irrespective of age - may not be left alone in the House.  Should parents wish to bring in another adult to babysit their child, they must see the manager on duty and sign our babysitting contract and authorize a background check.  Neither House volunteers nor other guest families are permitted to babysit your child.  

Can Ronald McDonald House assist me with tickets to local attractions?

Our House is fortunate to have the support of several area attractions, including, but not limited to:

  • Cincinnati Children’s Museum (limited number)
  • Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
  • Newport Aquarium (not available to short-term stay families due to their limited number)
What is the relationship between Ronald McDonald House and Cincinnati Children’s?

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House share a strategic partnership. Our House exists primarily to serve the patients and families of CCHMC; although, we do on occasion accept families with children at other area hospitals. CCHMC has made significant financial contributions to and investments in our House, including an $11 million strategic investment enabling us to build our new 30-room west wing. While Ronald McDonald House is grateful for our partnership with CCHMC, our House is neither owned nor fully funded by CCHMC.

What is the relationship between the House and McDonald’s?

While McDonald’s restaurants support Ronald McDonald House through funding and the use of their internationally recognized brand, RMHC is neither owned nor fully funded by McDonald’s. The financial contributions from McDonald’s account for 10% of our annual operating budget.  We raise the remaining 90% from generous individuals, corporations and foundations.

Does RMHC allow service animals?

The House allows service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.  No other pets are allowed at the House.  Please contact us should you have a service animal as there are requirements with respect to the having a service animal.