Are your programs still operating?
Yes. Guided by the Ministry of Health and in collaboration with partnering District Health Boards, we have introduced a series of actions to ensure we can safely continue to provide accommodation and care for families with a child undergoing medical treatment. These include:
- As at 26 March 2019, all families checked in to the Houses are able to remain at the Houses for as long as their medical journey requires, with restricted access to shared spaces such as kitchens and lounges.
- The Ronald McDonald Family Room® programme day lounges are closed to all ward families and visitors. Families who were previously staying in the Family Rooms have now been accommodated either at the Houses, or at off-site, self-contained accommodation close to the hospitals.
- Families checking in from 26 March 2019 will be accommodated at off-site, self-contained accommodation – close to the hospitals.
How are the Family Rooms affected?
In order to help keep patients, families, staff, and volunteers safe, the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms day lounges are now closed to all Ward families and visitors. As the Auckland Family Room accommodation has shared bathroom facilities, from Monday 23 March, this will also be closed, with all families staying in the Family Room on this day offered accommodation at the nearby Auckland Domain House.
In a move to support the national health system throughout the COVID-19 crisis, RMHC New Zealand has given full usage of the Ronald McDonald House Family Room® program in Auckland to The National Children’s Hospital. This facility will be utilised for the purpose of staff respite.
Please be assured that our commitment to support all referred PICU, NICU and HDU families – both local and travelling – will continue, either in our Houses, or in local offsite self-contained accommodation.
Are there restrictions for who can visit the House?
From Midnight Friday, 20th March we will be restricting access to the Houses to House families only; no visitors – and only Operations staff, and essential volunteers, contractors and services.
Is it safe for families to come to the House?
Our facilities are currently free from COVID-19 and with our visitor screening process in place; we have taken steps to ensure you are safe as possible. It is probable that if the virus is spread further then additional restrictions will be implemented. Please check the website for the most up to date information.
Are you turning any families away?
As ever, we are committed to ensuring that any eligible family that requires accommodation close to the hospital is welcomed. We have a screening process in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our families, staff and volunteers.
How are you keeping families safe once they are in one of the facilities?
We have implemented a stringent screening process for all families, staff and volunteers entering our programs to reduce the risk of introducing or spreading the virus. All our families have been provided information to help keep them safe and families, staff and volunteers have been asked to practise social distancing – minimising your social interactions, not attending large group events, restricting intimate contact such as hugging, kissing, shaking hands and hongi – where possible.
What happens if someone in the House tests positive for Covid-19?
If anyone has a positive diagnosis for Covid-19 they will not be able to stay at the House. Our facilities are not equipped to support full isolation that these situations require.
If a person staying at the House is diagnosed with Covid-19 they will not be able to remain in the House. We will work with our partnering hospital and Public Health to determine how that family will be supported and transported home or to a suitable isolation facility, or hospital.
We will also work with Public Heath on the steps that would follow for isolating known contacts, evacuating the house, etc.
Are you accepting donations for the families?
Cash donations would be very welcome. Non-perishable foods are always welcome although we respectfully request you leave these at the door please. Sadly, we cannot accept second-hand toys or clothes during this time.
Can I still volunteer or come and cook at the House?
We are needing to restrict access to our facilities right now and reduce some non-clinical services. Current Volunteers whose work is considered essential for the welfare and wellbeing of families staying with us will continue to come to work. Other volunteers who kindly support our work will not be coming to the Houses until we return to business as usual.
When will you re-start your cook night/meal preparation programs?
We have had to stop these immediately for the safety of our families and staff. We are reviewing this weekly and will begin to take bookings from July 1 2020, although start dates are dependent on the spread of COVID-19 in Aotearoa.
Are your events and fundraisers still going ahead?
All large group fundraisers run by RMHC New Zealand are postponed or cancelled until the threat from COVID-19 has subsided. Other events operated by supporters that benefit RMHC New Zealand will likely be impacted too but this will be decided by the organisers.
Is RMHC New Zealand OK?
Our priorities are to keep the whānau safe and keep programs running. This will be a tough time for everyone over the coming weeks and months and families will still need our services. We are resilient but need your support as much as ever, if not more so.
What’s the best way to support House families?
Given the impact to our fundraising through cancelled events and campaigns, we are facing a significant reduction in income and therefore our ability to support all families. If you are able to support House families please consider a cash donation at rhmc.org.nz . We are accepting non-perishable food items (although please leave these at the door of one of our facilities) but please do not be offended if we don’t accept second-hand toys or clothes during this time.