Ronald McDonald Family Room AT UAB

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Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama (RMHCA) and UAB Women and Infants Center (WIC) will welcome families to the new Ronald McDonald Family Room on January 11, 2018.

How is it different than the house?
The first of its kind in Birmingham, the Family Room will be located within the Women and Infants Center, just steps away from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit so family members can quickly access the space and resources and can rest and recharge without having to leave their newborns.

There are 225 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms worldwide. They serve as quiet spaces where parents can rest and regroup right inside the hospital where their child is being treated. Research shows when parents can stay close to their children, they can better communicate with their child’s medical team and better adhere to complicated treatment plans.

Who will it serve?
In order to stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Alabama, located just a few blocks from our campus, the patient and family must be from outside the Jefferson County area or live 50 miles or more away. Even if able to meet this criteria, housing for a patient or family of a patient is in high demand, so the Ronald McDonald House often operates with a waiting list. 

“Given that we have had a lengthy waiting list for families seeking a room at the Ronald McDonald House, the Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAB Women & Infants Center will enable us to provide respite for families with infants in the NICU,” RMHCA CEO Katherine Estes Billmeier said. “It is so important for new parents to establish an early bond with their newborns. At this new Family Room, in addition to a comfortable, private room, mom and dad will be able to participate in programs to better equip them for parenthood upon release from the hospital.”

The Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAB Women and Infants Center will serve three families each night in the sleeping rooms, plus other NICU families who may live in the Birmingham area but don’t need overnight accommodations. The distribution of rooms will be determined by the RNICU nurses in order to allow the families with the greatest need to have access to the sleeping space first.

What services will be provided?
Along with the sleeping rooms, the space will have showers and laundry facilities. It will also have common space for relaxing, eating meals, and socializing. The common space will be used for classes and group activities such as therapeutic art classes or parenting classes. The kitchenette will also allow for meals and snacks to be available for families.  

“When you imagine bonding with your newborn baby, you don’t picture tangles of tubes and monitors. The RNICU can be overwhelming and frightening,” UAB Benevolent Fund Manager Lisa Higginbotham said. “UAB employees eagerly await the opening of the Ronald McDonald Family Room in WIC where families of our babies will receive additional support, educational opportunities, and therapeutic outlets. We are pleased that UAB employee contributions were the impetus to bring the Family Room to fruition.”

Who will operate the room?
The room will be monitored and supported by a Ronald McDonald House Volunteer. Ronald McDonald House Volunteers will also supply meals and snacks daily for families. 

How will this help the RNICU nurses?
The space will provided needed respite space and services for the families of RNICU patients. Because a volunteer will be available, Nurses will be confident that the families' needs are being met in the space while they are focused on caring for the needs of the child. 
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