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Ronald McDonald House Charities • Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs for families

When can I check in?

Check-in time is between 9:00 am and 4 p.m. seven days a week.

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Does the House provide food or transportation for the families?

Both House I and House III have a communal kitchen and pantry of non-perishable foods that are offered free to all families. Each family has refrigerator and cupboard space where a small amount of personal food can be stored. Outside volunteer groups regularly visit the House to make dinners for the families. There is no eating allowed in the rooms, or anywhere in the House, outside of the kitchen and dining room. There is an RMHC complimentary shuttle that takes guests to and from the hospital on weekdays.

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How can a family stay at the House?

New guests must have a referral from a hospital social worker where their child is being treated. Guests who have stayed at the House within two years should call the day before their arrival to be placed on a waiting list. Guests must then call again, before noon, on the day of their arrival to see if a room is available for them.

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Are only low-income families permitted to stay at the House?

Family income is not a consideration for admittance. Our only requirement is that families have a child who is aged 18 or younger undergoing medical treatment at a hospital in Salt Lake. All families are requested to contribute $15 a night towards the cost of their stay; however, no one is ever turned away due to an inability to pay.

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Does a family have to live a certain distance from the House to stay there?

Generally, families must live at least 35 miles away from the Salt Lake Ronald McDonald House.

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Does the House provide counseling?

There is no formal counseling program, but families get support from staff, volunteers and other families going through similar experiences.

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Is there a curfew?

The House is open 24 hours a day for families staying here to come and go. Visiting hours are between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

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How many people can stay in each room?

Fire code regulations determine the number of people who can stay in a room. Most rooms can accommodate three family members. There are a limited number of rooms that can accommodate up to five immediate family members

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Can families have visitors?

Visiting hours are between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Visitors are welcome, but must sign in at the front desk and stay on the main floor. The children living at Ronald McDonald House are highly susceptible to infections. Please do not plan on coming to the House if, within the last month, you or any family members have been exposed to chicken pox, shingles, measles, tuberculosis, influenza, hepatitis A or any other infectious disease, or if you have any of the following symptoms: sore throat, runny nose, watery eyes, cough fever, chills, unexplained rash, general aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

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Do I have to bring my own linens?

We provide bed linens and towels. We request that outside pillows and linens not be brought in because of health related issues.

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Is there maid service?

No. All families are asked to clean their room before checking out of the House. They are also expected to clean up any communal areas they use. The washing machines and dryers are available for personal use.

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Is there a babysitting service?

No. Parents are required to be responsible for their own children and provide supervision at all times.

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Are activities planned for families in the House?

Yes. Groups regularly visit the House to make dinners for the families. Crafts and other activities occur on a regular basis.

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What is in a guest room?

Rooms in House I and House III each have a bed, private bathroom, closet space and a telephone. Check-in time is between 9:00 am and 4 p.m. seven days a week.

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Is smoking permitted

There is no smoking anywhere in the House. Utah State law prohibits indoor smoking and smoking within 50 feet of any entrance.    

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General FAQ's

What is Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area, Inc.?

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of the Intermountain Area is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization and a chapter of the global RMHC. Our cornerstone is the Salt Lake Ronald McDonald House which provides a caring home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill or injured children being treated at a Salt Lake City hospital. In addition, RMHC operates two Ronald McDonald Family Rooms; in-hospital respite areas for parents of pediatric patients, in Ogden Regional Medical Center and Primary Children's Hospital. 

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Who owns and operates the Salt Lake Ronald McDonald House?

The House is owned and operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area, Inc. and is governed by a Board of Trustees.

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Who runs the Salt Lake Ronald McDonald House?

Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area has a small paid staff that runs the day-to-day operations. They are supported by volunteers.

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How many Ronald McDonald Houses are there?

There are more than 300 Ronald McDonald Houses throughout the United States and world, with local chapters in 52 countries and regions. All operate under licensing guidelines from Ronald McDonald House Charities. However, each Ronald McDonald House is independently operated.

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How big is the Salt Lake Ronald McDonald House?

The Salt Lake Houses can accommodate 33 families each night in two Houses. House I has rooms for 25 families: with four self-contained long-term suites, and House III serves as a quiet sanctuary for families with seriously ill children. Both Houses are a short ride to local area hospitals and a shuttle is provided.

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How is the House funded?

By generous supporters like you! Over 90 percent of our operating funds come from individuals, organizations, foundations and businesses in the Intermountain Area. It costs about $1.3 million annually to operate RMHC. The majority of that amount is raised through individual and corporate donations. These include the Share-A-Night program, RMHC-sponsored and community fundraising events, grants, will bequests, property and goods donations.

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Does McDonald's Corporation subsidize the House?

Local McDonald's restaurant owner/operators fund approximately 15 percent of our annual operating costs. This funding comes from in-store donation boxes, sales of newspapers sold in McDonald's restaurants and in-store promotions.

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How can I support the Salt Lake Ronald McDonald House?

By donating and volunteering! We could not operate the House without donations from individuals and groups. Our volunteers are the heart and soul of our House - and the reason we can accomplish so much with such a small staff. We have a detailed list of in-kind supplies, equipment and services that are most needed. Also check with staff about the next major event we are hosting and ask how you can help! 

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Who can stay at the House?

Families of seriously ill children undergoing medical treatment at one of our local hospitals who live more than 35 miles from Salt Lake may stay at the House. Most of our families come from Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Montana and Colorado. However, we serve families from throughout the U.S. and world. First time families are referred to us by social workers at the hospital. Once a family has been referred and stayed with us, they can call the House directly for future stays.

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How much does it cost to stay at the Salt Lake Ronald McDonald House?

We ask families to contribute $15 per night to stay at the House. In contrast, it costs RMHC $74 per night to house a family. No family is ever turned away because of an inability to pay.

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How long do families usually stay at the House?

It varies greatly, depending on the child's illness and treatment. Stays may last several weeks to several months and even extend to a year or more. The average length of stay has increased in the last three years from three days up to seven days.

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What do volunteers do?

Volunteers are vital to our operation as they work the front desk and greet visitors, help with family services and clean the Houses. They also organize fundraisers, cook dinners, and sponsor activities for the families.

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How much does it cost to run the Ronald McDonald House?

RMHC of the Intermountain Area has a $1.3 million operating budget. This is used for maintaining and operating the Ronald McDonald Houses and its programs every day of the year.

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