Officials from Ronald McDonald House New York (RMH-NY) and NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst gathered on May 16 to celebrate the grand opening of the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Elmhurst Hospital, marking RMH-NY’s continued expansion to provide its services for more families who are battling pediatric cancer and other serious illnesses in hospitals across the five boroughs.
“NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst is truly honored to have this unique partnership with Ronald McDonald House New York, which provides temporary and much-needed respite for the caregivers of our most vulnerable population – including our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Inpatient Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Behavioral Health Unit,” said Helen Arteaga Landaverde, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst. “As parents and other caregivers deal with the tremendous emotional stress of having an infant or child who is hospitalized, it’s important for them to have a space to take a breath and realize they are not alone. We are very grateful to Ronald McDonald House New York for giving our patient families the opportunity to use this calm, beautiful space and for being partners with us in the healing process.”
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health system in the country, and the only public hospital system in the U.S. that has Ronald McDonald Family Rooms. The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Elmhurst is located directly adjacent to the NICU and provides access to a comfortable space for caregivers to rest and regroup at the hospital. The room offers snacks, refreshments, entertainment, laundry and more services to help alleviate the anxiety of having a child in the hospital by keeping caregivers close to their bedside.
“The Ronald McDonald Family Room at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst bolsters our footprint in the New York City community and provides a seamless circle of support to meet the needs of vulnerable families,” said Dr. Ruth C. Browne, president and CEO of Ronald McDonald House New York. “It is also part of the broader national Ronald McDonald House Charities expansion strategy, and with Elmhurst Hospital being part of the largest public hospital system in New York – and the country – it was very important to us that we build our second family room in New York there.”
Ronald McDonald House New York Board member Cindy Gavin noted that it is their second family room at a New York City public hospital, after Kings County, which in the last seven years has provided services to thousands of family members and caregivers of children receiving treatment in the Neonatal, Intensive Care and Pediatric Units.
“We waited a long time for this and we are so proud that our doors are officially open,” Gavin said. “It goes without saying that having a child in the hospital is extremely stressful for all families. Our mission is to ensure that families have access to the resources they need to navigate the challenges in having their child hospitalized. This new family room is a testament to our commitment…to provide the best possible care and support to families.”
Landaverde said Ronald McDonald House and NYC Health + Hospitals share the same vision.
“I couldn’t ask for a better partner,” she said. “Medicine is important, doctors are important, but sometimes a little deep breathing, a nice espresso and a cookie can go a long way.”
Additional reporting by Paul Frangipane.