At Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southern Alberta, we do everything we can to relieve the stress of the families staying with us while their child receives medical treatment at a nearby hospital. Many of these families have children -- either the child receiving treatment or a sibling -- staying with them at the House. It can often be difficult for parents to keep children entertained for the long periods of time between hospital visits, and for those who are preoccupied with stress over their child’s illness, playtime can quickly become overwhelming.
We provide a small playroom where children can entertain themselves to give parents a break. The playroom is within full view of the kitchen, so mom and dad can make dinner while knowing that their child is safely playing nearby.
While this playroom has been a wonderful sanctuary for our families, it has its challenges. The room is filled with many small toys that must be sanitized every time they are touched to protect our immune-suppressed children. This is a time-consuming task. Additionally, the toys are often left strewn around the room, which can be dangerous for young children or those who have limited mobility.
Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southern Alberta would like to redevelop the playroom by installing foam flooring and large multi-purpose, developmental play structures. Our vision for this area includes a miniature indoor treehouse that children can play in all year round, a sensory area, an “imagination” play area, a busy wall, a tool box for kids, large foam blocks, and an area especially for babies. This will make the playroom safer and easier to care for, while also providing educational and developmental play opportunities for all children at Ronald McDonald House regardless of their ages or illness-related limitations.
Who Will it Benefit?
In 2015, 308 families stayed with us while their child received medical treatment in a nearby hospital. The Playroom Redevelopment Program will benefit each of these families while they live at Ronald McDonald House Charities® Southern Alberta. These families come from all across Alberta, as well as from other provinces. For these families, knowing that their child will have a safe and clean place to play will be a tremendous gift.
This redevelopment will be especially impactful on the immune suppressed children staying at Ronald McDonald House. Many of the children staying at our House are on medicines that suppress their immune systems (for example, if they are receiving a transplant). These children face many restrictions, including the fact that they are unable to play outside. By providing an indoor treehouse, we can give these children the chance to enjoy this simple pleasure that they would otherwise not have until after they are finished treatment.
Many of our families also stay with us for long periods of time; in 2015, 14 families stayed with us for over 100 nights, 3 families for over 200 nights, and 1 for over 300 nights. This redevelopment will have the added benefit of providing a stimulating new play area for these families who have been away from home for so long and who have spent many hours playing with the toys that are currently in the playroom.