Our Relationship with Erlanger Hospital
Ronald McDonald Houses are typically started when there is support from three important segments: local McDonald’s owner/operators, concerned parents of sick children, and the medical community. The Board of Directors of the Chattanooga Ronald McDonald House was formed with representatives of all three, and the administration of then T. C. Thompson Children’s Hospital was heavily involved in the planning phases for the House. A big boost to the progress toward building the House was the offer from the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority of the empty lot on the corner of Third and Central where our House now sits—it was the perfect place! While Ronald McDonald House accepts referrals and families from all area hospitals, the majority of families who need our “home away from home” are being treated at Children’s Hospital.
This partnership between Ronald McDonald House Charities and Children’s Hospital at Erlanger has taken many forms: the opening of the world’s 4th Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Children’s Hospital in 1996 which annually serves 22,000 visitors; delivery of the world’s 13th Ronald McDonald Care Mobile which operated as a mobile dental program for underserved children from 2003-2010 and now operates as a school-based medical clinic in Bradley and Polk counties; and in addition, the significant sharing of hospital resources to RMHC such as IT, telephone, parking, infectious disease control, security, and sponsorships of events. RMHC of Greater Chattanooga is indeed fortunate to have Children’s Hospital at Erlanger as a mission partner!
Testimonial from a NICU caregiver at Children's Hospital at Erlanger:
"Max weighed 1 and a half pounds when he was born and could fit into the palm of your hand. He was a scrawny little guy and looked nothing like the full term healthy baby his parents had envisioned. He came suddenly and his parents’ lives turned on a dime.
I and other caregivers in the NICU at Children’s bombarded them with information we tried to make understandable but we knew they were so overwhelmed that it would take days for it all to sink in. His parents felt helpless and unable to do anything for their struggling son. It was crucial for Max’s parents to become involved in his care and to provide the one medication only his Mom could.
The Ronald McDonald House became their home away from home and removed the stress of finding a place to stay and having a warm meal while being close enough to Max to touch him and talk to him on a regular daily basis. The warm family atmosphere of “the house” and the staff provided the support and environment for Mom to relax and provide her all-important breast milk. Max and his family graduated with honors from our NICU after 4 months of intensive care. His parents had become a part of our family as well and the family at RMH. Without the Ronald McDonald House across the street it would have been impossible for Max and hundreds of babies like him to have the close contact with his parents, which is all the more important in those first weeks of life."