Frequently Asked Questions
Who can stay at the Ronald McDonald House?
The immediate family (mother, father, siblings), living a minimum of 15 miles from the hospital, of any seriously ill or injured child (21 or younger), is eligible to request to become one of our residents.
How much does it cost to stay at the Ronald McDonald House?
We request a modest donation of $10.00 per night to cover a small portion of the actual cost of your stay. No one is ever turned away because of inability to pay.
How close is the House to the hospital?
We are located on the campus of Golisano Children’s Hospital at HealthPark. It’s a short walk to the hospital but there is a shuttle service offered for your convenience.
How far away from Fort Myers must a family live to stay at Ronald McDonald House?
Families must live a minimum of 15 miles away from HealthPark Hospital.
Are only low-income families permitted to stay at the House?
No, family income is not a qualification for admission.
Are reservations accepted and what happens when the House is full?
We always do our best to accommodate as many families as possible. All of our room assignments begin with a doctor, nurse or medical social worker referral. However, we frequently receive more referrals than we have rooms available. Families are notified when (if) a room becomes available for them. We do not accept reservations.
What can families expect when they arrive at the Ronald McDonald House?
Families are required to complete our check-in process. During check-in they will review our House rules and responsibilities, discuss check-out procedures, become familiar with House staff and be given the story/fact sheet of Ronald McDonald House. A House tour will be given and they will be given a key to their private room. Once check-in is completed, families are able to return to the hospital, relax in their room, enjoy a meal in the dining room, or spend time in any of the common areas within the House.
How long do families usually stay at the house?
A family is eligible to stay at our House as long as their child is receiving medical treatment. Depending on the child’s illness and treatment, stays may last from a few days to several months and in extreme cases extend to a year or more.
Why would a family stay at Ronald McDonald House if they could stay at a hotel?
The Ronald McDonald House provides a “home-away-from-home” for families in a clean, affordable, comfortable and supportive environment while keeping them near their hospitalized child.
Does the House provide meals or transportation for families?
We have a large, communal kitchen and pantry, both well stocked with food for our residents. Families share a refrigerator for their personal items and each family has a cupboard where their personal food may be stored. A meal is provided most nights, but, not guaranteed. Golisano Children’s Hospital provides a courtesy shuttle service that runs continuously Monday through Friday from 8:30 am until 3:30 pm.
Are there televisions in the guest rooms?
No. However, we encourage families to relax and enjoy the large screen televisions in our living room and dining room.
Does each room have a private bathroom?
Yes, each room has a full, private bathroom.
How many people can stay in a room?
Each room may accommodate up to four immediate (mother, father, siblings) family members.
May a family stay at the House if they have a child or adult relative, over the age of 21, who is staying at the hospital?
No, we are a children’s charity and we are not permitted to accommodate the families of those with children (or other family members) over the age of 21.
Who do I contact if I know a family that needs to stay at Ronald McDonald House?
To stay at our House, a family must be referred by their doctor, nurse or hospital social worker. We prefer the family speak to their social worker/medical personnel, who will then contact us should they feel the family qualifies to stay here. To find the specific social worker assigned to the patient, please contact the hospital directly.
May flowers, packages, and gift baskets be sent to a family staying at a House?
Yes. We accept deliveries from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm and will be happy to forward them to the family. It is best to call the family and confirm that they are still registered as a resident at our House prior to sending anything, as families sometimes check out unexpectedly.
Does the House provide counseling?
No, there is no licensed counseling program offered at our House. Families do receive emotional support from staff, volunteers and other families going through similar experiences.
Can families have visitors?
Visitors are welcome seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. till 8:00 p.m. in the common areas of the House. 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 (cold, flu, chicken pox, stomach virus, fever, etc.) should not visit our House.
Do I have to bring my own towels and sheets?
We provide bed linens and towels. Once families are registered as guests they are responsible for the laundering of their towels and sheets on a frequent basis. Laundry facilities are available, free of charge, from 9am-9pm.
Is there maid service?
No. All families are expected, on a daily basis, to keep their rooms clean. Families are also asked to thoroughly clean their room before leaving the House and returning home. Residents are also expected to help keep the communal areas of our House clean and well maintained.
Is there babysitting service?
No. Any child under the age of 18 must be supervised by their parent (or legal guardian) at all times. Your child may not be left alone in the House, with another parent staying at our House or with siblings or other family and friends.
What is in a resident room?
Each room has two queen size beds, nightstand, dresser, desk and chair, full private bathroom, closet space and telephone.
Is smoking permitted in the House?
Smoking is not permitted anywhere in our House or on our grounds.
Is there a curfew?
The House is open 24 hours a day for families staying here to come and go. Quiet hours are between 9:00 pm and 9:00 am.
Does everyone eat hamburgers there?
Although McDonald’s is a proud sponsor and often donates food for special occasions, we rely on school groups, organizations, businesses and local friends (like you) to provide meals.