Updates on our response:
While the world works to manage through the unprecedented situation that unfolds in front of us, Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House is doing everything that we can to keep our guest families, volunteers, staff and visitors safe. We’ve made significant changes to our House operations and will continue to do so in support of guidance from RMHC Global, the CDC, the Ohio Department of Health and state and local officials. Please view those changes below.
We are beyond grateful for your generosity and dedication to supporting our families. Below, we have listed the ways you can help our House care for our families from the safety of your home.
While we pursue our mission of directly improving the health and well-being of children and their families, we are committed to protecting the health and safety of the people we serve, the people who deliver our mission and the communities in which we live. We focus on this mission every day in our House, but it is even more important during the global pandemic.
It is within this context that we strive to strike the right balance of moving our mission forward, understanding that the need for our House is perhaps more critical than ever while understanding our obligations to keep our guest families, staff and our community safe.
We are working with Cincinnati Children’s, the RMHC Global organization and state and local officials to outline a safe and phased approach to resuming full operations at our House. We will share more information with guest families and our partners in the coming weeks.
When you ask someone what they love about our House, a common answer is the community that thrives here. As we face this pandemic together, we are always on the lookout for ways that we can protect the community in our House and keep the dozens of families that are staying here safe. As we don’t see our families as often these days, we’re making sure that we check in on them at least weekly. It’s a chance for us to see how they are doing, how we can help them and confirm that they are healthy. As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to grow in the Cincinnati area, it’s important for us to be aware of any exposures that our guest families have so that we can keep everyone in the House safe.
This week, we are also partnering with Cincinnati Children’s to use their screening process for guest families in our House. Beginning Wednesday, April 8, any guest who leaves our House must be screened by Children’s before returning. All guests will need to show that day’s screening sticker to a guest services manager before being allowed in the House. Again, this helps us quickly identify any families with additional health concerns and helps us keep all of our families safe.
In accordance with CDC guidelines, staff will begin wearing masks and all guest families are encouraged to do the same. We’d like to thank the many groups in the Cincinnati community who are supporting our team by donating masks.
At this time, there are no suspected or known cases of COVID-19 among our staff or families.
The morning hours at the House have always had less structure than other times of the day. Some families must be at the hospital very early for appointments, while other families like to sleep in. Because of this, breakfast has always been”grab and go” style with cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, pastries and, most importantly, coffee. We’re still going to offer these same items, but it will now be through our new “breakfast station,” which will have one staff member who will take orders from guest families. Food will be provided on a tray for families to take to their rooms. Families can also take boxes of cereal and bowls and spoons to their rooms if they would like so they don’t have to come to the kitchen area each day. Each guest room has a mini-fridge for families to store several days worth of cold items.
Coffee will be available all day behind the front desk.
To encourage social distancing and allow us to focus our cleaning protocols on the main areas of our House, we are closing our west wing kitchen and play area until further notice.
Per our RMHC Global organization, in order to continue to limit exposure, we are asking all guest families to reduce the number of occupants in their rooms. Moving forward, we are only permitting the patient and up to two adults (parents or guardians/primary caregivers) in each room.
The heart of our House is definitely our kitchen, but in order to maintain social distance, we need to limit its use by our guest families. Effective Monday, March 23, we will be delivering all meals to guest families’ rooms. Families can order their meals on order forms by 9 a.m. each day for lunch and 3 p.m. each day for dinner.
Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House is committed to providing a clean and healthy House for families to rest, recharge and connect with one another. The health and wellbeing of our guest families, staff and the communities in which we serve is always our top priority.
Therefore, in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19, we have made the decision to suspend acceptance of new families into the House, effective immediately.
Guest families currently staying at our House may remain at the House at this point in time. We are closely monitoring this situation to ensure the steps we take to address COVID-19 are in the best interest of the families we serve.
We will continue to follow the guidance and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, the Ohio Department of Health, World Health Organization (WHO), Cincinnati Children’s as we navigate this situation.
We appreciate your understanding during this time.
As of March 17, these are the additional changes at the House:
- We have closed the first floor West Wing playroom a little earlier than planned (this room will be under construction next week, transitioning to additional dining for the West Wing).
- We have moved dining to the lobby in preparation for the dining room closure. All tables are spaced six+ feet apart in accordance with the social distancing recommended by the CDC.
- The library, arts and crafts room, meditation room and second floor West Wing playroom will be closed.
- DVDs will be moved behind the front desk so they can still be accessed but we can disinfect them between uses.
- We will have to-go craft kits at the front desk.
- The West Wing dining/play area and the bridge will remain open at this time.
All guest families are asked to help in keeping the House clean and safe. Please follow the directions of the CDC in terms of taking care of yourself and others, including washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds and maintaining social distance (even when in line for meals).
Everyone staying at the House is expected to wash their hands in the sink in the lobby area before getting coffee or any meal or snack.
Guest families showing any flu-like symptoms should notify the front desk immediately so we can assist you with next steps and ensure the safety of those around you.
As the world changes around us in response to COVID19, one thing remains constant: our mission to offer a community of compassion and support to our guest families. We are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our guest families, staff and volunteers during this critical time.
What We’re Doing
We have increased cleaning and disinfection with a specific focus on high touch surfaces, including common areas, bathroom fixtures, doorknobs, rails/handles, elevator buttons and keyboards.
We have installed a hand-washing sink in the lobby. All guest families and staff members should wash their hands at this sink each time they enter the House.
Beginning Saturday, March 14, 2020, we made important changes to our operations:
- The Taste of Hope program is suspended. RMH chefs will prepare all meals.
- The salad bar has been temporarily removed. Individual premade salads will be offered.
- All snacks and activities that involve outside visitors are suspended.
- All guest service volunteer shifts are suspended.
- Non-essential staff will be working remotely.
- Except essential staff and guest families, no one will be permitted to enter the House.
- Our Day Visitor program is suspended.
Guest Family Travel Screen & Health Screen
Prospective families will be screened for travel to a Level 2 or 3 Travel Advisory Country (as defined by the CDC.) Prospective families who answer yes to any of the following questions will need to arrange for alternative accommodations:
- Travel history from to Level 2 or 3 Travel Advisory Country within the past 14 days
- Knowingly had contact with a traveler who visited Level 2 or 3 Travel Advisory Country within the past 14 days
- Knowingly had contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19
- Fever, cough, or shortness of breath
At this time, our expansion and renovation projects will continue, including significant work in our main kitchen and dining room beginning next week. While their presence in our common spaces is limited, we are working closely with Messer Construction to ensure that any of their team who enters the living spaces of our House takes the necessary safety precautions (hand washing, maintaining social distance, etc.)
Our staff and guest families are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines for practicing good hygiene.
We are grateful for our staff, guest families and volunteers who are remaining, calm, flexible and collaborative during this challenging time. We will continue to provide updates through this website and through our app, RMH Cincy.
We’re still here for them, thanks to you.
As the world changes around us in response to COVID19, one thing remains constant: our mission to offer a community of compassion and support to our guest families.
In this time of great uncertainty, we are relying on each other for support. As a part of the Greater Cincinnati Ronald McDonald House community, we hope we can rely on you to support us however you can in this time of need.
- Fund a meal: We have suspended our Taste of Hope program and our RMH chefs will be preparing meals for our families. You can help by providing funding for meals.
- Donate Items from Amazon: We have updated our wish list with the most important items. You can donate wish list items from the safety of your own home. Your donated items will be delivered right to our doorstep and put to great use.
- Make a donation: Your financial support will help us continue to be here for our families. Donate today!
Your life has likely turned upside down since this began, and we hope you and your family are all healthy and safe. We will continue to provide updates on how our House is doing through our website.
Our social media will continue to focus on our guest families. The support that you show them through your comments means the world to them, especially during this challenging time.
On behalf of all of us at Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House, stay safe and well.