HealthONE/Ronald McDonald House Services the Entire Region
Denver, Colo. — Strong community ties are hallmarks of HCA Healthcare hospitals, and that’s certainly evident in Denver, where HealthONE Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children continues to deepen its relationship with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Denver.
The hospital and family-respite charity first began working together eight years ago, when the children’s hospital was being envisioned, said Mimi Roberson, CEO of Rocky Mountain and Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center. A Ronald McDonald House was two blocks away, and would service the new hospital along with an existing children’s facility. The Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children has an 84-bed NICU. Thirty-five percent of its patients are from outside the Metro Denver area, so a Ronald McDonald Room was incorporated in the facility plans so families could relax on-site as well as at the nearby house.
Helping make a second house happen
“But as we were developing that plan, the other children’s hospital announced it was leaving its downtown site and moving out to the Aurora community,” Roberson said. “We also have a hospital out there, and so there was a lot of interest in a Ronald McDonald House in Aurora. But that meant that they would have to close the existing house, and that was the last thing we wanted to see happen.”
For two houses to be up and running, the charity would need some help. They got it in the form of a land lease from HealthONE’s Aurora site to the tune of $1 a year for 90 years. In return for the property, the Ronald McDonald House operators would agree to maintain and fully staff the downtown house near the new Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, and it would also house one of their first Ronald McDonald Rooms.
Today, the room is staffed from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and has become a haven for families. It had more than 7,000 families visit in 2012, said Pam Whitaker, executive director of Ronald McDonald Charities of Denver, and is a valuable component of the two Ronald McDonald houses, both of which are running at capacity and servicing the entire Metro Denver area.
“We have been able to keep two houses going and serve families throughout the Metro Denver area,” Whitaker said. “Now we are looking at a second family room in Rocky Mountain’s next phase of growth, so that we can provide services to even more families. It’s been an amazing partnership. We recently had a family who was here with a baby for four months. We are here to make sure they know they have a clean place to stay, to do laundry, all the burdens they would otherwise have to deal with.”
Hospital-charity partnership keeps growing
The two rooms at Rocky Mountain will serve the pediatric intensive care and NICU areas, Roberson said, noting that HealthONE continues to work closely with the charity to make sure everyone involved is allocating their resources most effectively.
“We have always had someone on their board, and it’s a partnership that continues to evolve,” she said. “We’ve really been able to think outside the box in terms of accomplishing both their goals and ours, which are about patient and family service.”
“They are very comfortable here, and they really are a part of our family,” adds Kathy DeMarco, Vice President of Women’s and Children’s Services. “I can’t imagine our hospital without them; really, I can’t imagine Denver without them.”
Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan., also has a Ronald McDonald Family Room, located near its PICU.
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