St. Francis Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House Charities Announce Partnership

01/19/2021

St. Francis Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House Charities Northeast Louisiana are pleased to announce their “House Within A Hospital” partnership to keep children and families close during their stay in the hospital.  This will be the first and only one in Louisiana.  

St. Francis Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House Charities Northeast Louisiana are pleased to announce their “House Within A Hospital” partnership to keep children and families close during their stay in the hospital.  This will be the first and only one in Louisiana. 

Located on the 4th floor of St. Francis Medical Center’s Labor & Delivery and NICU departments, the Ronald McDonald House will be a 4,740 square foot “house within a hospital” space designed to provide a place of rest and relaxation to families of children age 21 and under who are receiving medical treatment. 

“St. Francis Medical Center’s mission is to care for those most in need and like the Ronald McDonald House, we recognize that parents dealing with medical crises involving children are frightening, emotional and can have a tremendous impact on the entire family.  This partnership will allow us to bring a sense of home to the families of our infants, premature babies, and children and help to ease some of their burdens,” said Kristin Wolkart, President of St. Francis Medical Center.   

The House will be equipped with six bedrooms with private en-suite bathrooms, laundry room, fully stocked kitchen, dining area with tables and an island, living room with play area and computer stations with internet access.   It will also include a quiet room just down the hall from the House where families can go to have a moment of prayer and meditation.  Just as the house does today, daytime visitors as well as overnight guests will have access to the house and amenities and at no cost to families.

Keeping families close with sick children close to each other and the care and resources they need has been the mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities Northeast Louisiana since 1985 when it first opened its doors to the community.   The free-standing home currently located on South Third Street in Monroe has been a home away-from-home to thousands of families since that time.  Over the years the building has aged and needs many repairs and remodeling to meet the needs of today’s families.  

“As Helen Keller once said, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’ and this partnership between St. Francis and Ronald McDonald House will do so much to benefit the families in need of our services,” said Georgia Street, Executive Director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Louisiana.

Having this wonderful gem of a resource in the community available to families is great but we recognize that being off-site from where your child is being cared for is not ideal and puts additional stress on the parents both emotionally and financially. This “house within a hospital” concept will allow families to face the weight of illness together and allow their child to get the best care without worrying about distance.  

Plans are underway with the goal of beginning construction early Fall 2021.

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Questions & Answers

What is the partnership between St. Francis Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House Charities Northeast Louisiana? 
Each House is owned and operated by a local RMHC Chapter. The Chapter is governed by a local Board of Directors who are responsible for program development and operations.

What are the benefits of this partnership?
Many families travel far from home and spend several weeks or months to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children – a long time to be away or to divide a family. And, for children facing a serious medical crisis, nothing seems scarier than not having mom and dad close by for love and support. A Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families to call home so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little to no cost. 

The Ronald McDonald House is built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child – not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night to rest. We believe that when a child is hospitalized the love and support of family is as powerful as the strongest medicine prescribed.

Families are stronger when they are together, which helps in the healing process. By staying at a Ronald McDonald House, parents also can better communicate with their child’s medical team and keep up with complicated treatment plans when needed. They can also focus on the health of their child, rather than grocery shopping, cleaning, or cooking meals.

When your child is sick, you want the best care possible – even if it is hundreds or thousands of miles away. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to access specialized medical treatment by providing a place to stay at little or sometimes no cost.

Where will the House be located?
Located on the 4th floor of St. Francis Medical Center’s Labor & Delivery and NICU departments, the Ronald McDonald House will be a 4,740 square foot “house within a hospital” space designed to provide a place of rest and relaxation to families of children age 21 and under who are receiving medical treatment. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Louisiana will lease the space from St. Francis Medical Center for $12 a year, a community benefit market value of over $75,000 per year.

What are the House amenities?
The House will be equipped with six bedrooms with private en-suite bathrooms, laundry room, fully stocked kitchen, dining area with tables and an island, living room with play area and computer stations with internet access.   It will also include a quiet room just down the hall from the house where families can go to have a moment of prayer and meditation.  Just as the house does today, daytime visitors as well as overnight guests will have access to the house and amenities and at no cost to families.

Who can use the House and does it cost anything?
The families of children, from birth through 21 years of age who are being treated at nearby hospitals and medical facilities, are eligible. The patient is also eligible to stay with the family if he/she is being treated on an outpatient basis. Families may stay as long as their child remains in active treatment, although sometimes due to the demand, limited amount of time may be placed on the stay at the House. The generosity of volunteers and donors make it all possible. In return, families either stay at no cost or are asked to make a donation.  The RMHC Global Policy is that families are never turned away; if it’s not possible to pay, the fee is waived.

How will the House be funded? 
The majority of the funds come from individuals, organizations, and businesses along with dollars raised through two main fundraisers, the RMH Bass Pro Tournament and the Southern Living Cookbook sales.  Local McDonald's restaurant owner/operators generously fund portions of the annual operating costs of the Houses. Funds from the sale of the current house and land will also be used to build the new House.

Is the current House available for use now and will it be available for use until the new location opens?
With the current COVID pandemic, the House has been closed and it will depend on the developments surrounding the virus as to when the House will be available for use.

When will the construction begin?
Our goal is to being construction Fall 2021.

What is the estimated date of completion and opening?
We estimate that the House will be complete and open by Spring 2022.

About Our Lady of the Lake

Our Lady of the Lake is a not-for-profit healthcare ministry based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with more than 7,500 employees committed to serving the Capital Region and building a healthy community through excellence in patient care and education. With an 800-bed Regional Medical Center, a dedicated Children’s Hospital, a 78-bed hospital in Gonzales, Louisiana, two freestanding emergency rooms, and a 500+ provider Physician Group, Our Lady of the Lake provides comprehensive healthcare services for common to complex conditions. Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center is a primary teaching site for graduate medical education programs and is recognized in the areas of heart and vascular, trauma and emergency care, stroke, cancer care, minimally-invasive procedures and more. Our Lady of the Lake is part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System.

About Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital is Louisiana’s fastest growing children’s hospital treating more than 100,000 patients annually from across Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The hospital is the only healthcare provider in the Baton Rouge area that provides a full range of pediatric services ranging from a 24/7 pediatric emergency room to a team of more than 100 pediatricians and pediatric specialists. For more information, visit www.ololchildrens.org.

The new freestanding Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital is currently under construction and is set to open in 2019. To learn more about the project, visit www.letsbuildamazing.com.

About Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health

Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health is a collaborative, coordinated and child-focused statewide health network that provides patients with more access to physicians and providers specifically trained to care for children. The network includes hospital-based services at the main campus of Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital in Baton Rouge, as well as St. Francis Pediatrics in Monroe and Our Lady of Lourdes Women's and Children's in Lafayette. It also connects pediatricians, pediatric specialists and other health providers across our state with clinics in the Baton Rouge region, Hammond, Lafayette and Monroe. This model of coordinated pediatric healthcare extends the vital work happening at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital into more communities across Louisiana so families have greater access to expertise close to home.

About the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System

The Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System is one of the largest healthcare systems based in Louisiana and is the leading healthcare provider for more than half the state’s population. The health system is a non-profit, Catholic organization sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the ministry serves patients in Louisiana and Mississippi through a network of hospitals, clinics, physicians, elderly housing and integrated systems. The health system’s unified physician organization is comprised of 900 adult and pediatric primary care physicians and specialists. The system’s nine hospitals include St. Francis Medical Center in Monroe, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge and Gonzales, Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, Heart Hospital, and Women's & Children's in Lafayette, Our Lady of the Angels in Bogalusa, and St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi. For more information, visit www.fmolhs.org.

About Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group

With more than 450 healthcare providers throughout more than 70 locations, Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group is one of the area’s largest physician networks. In addition to primary care, this experienced group of doctors specializes in diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of illnesses and complex medical problems.

About St. Elizabeth Physicians

St. Elizabeth Physicians is the largest provider of primary and specialty care in Ascension Parish, employing over 50 primary care physicians, specialists and providers. St. Elizabeth Physicians has been recognized for quality by the Louisiana Quality Foundation, and as the Large Business of the Year twice by the Ascension Chamber of Commerce. For more information, visit the St. Elizabeth Hospital website.

About St. Francis Medical Center

St. Francis Medical Center is a not-for-profit 324-bed medical center in Monroe, Louisiana with more than 1,800 team members committed to caring for those we serve. With an acute-care hospital, freestanding outpatient center, 19 outpatient clinics and nearly 350 physician partners, St. Francis Medical Center provides comprehensive healthcare services for a variety of medical and surgical specialties. St. Francis offers Northeast Louisiana’s only Level III NICU, Level III OB, and Level II PICU services. St. Francis Medical Center leads the region in heart and vascular services, critical care, and complex and minimally invasive surgical procedures. The hospital offers an Accredited Chest Pain Center and Centers of Excellence in the areas of obstetrics, bariatric surgery, robotic surgery, minimally invasive gynecology, and breast health.

About St. Francis Medical Group

With over 50 healthcare providers at 16 clinic locations, St. Francis Medical Group is one of the area’s largest physician networks and is backed by the resources of St. Francis Medical Center. In addition to primary care, this experienced group of providers specializes in diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of illnesses and complex medical problems. For more information visit the St. Francis Medical Center website.

About St. Dominic's Health Services

St. Dominic Health Services is sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady and is a part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System. St. Dominic’s is more than just a hospital, it is a family of services focused on fulfilling a mission of Christian healing to those in need. St. Dominic Health Services, Inc. is the parent company for a large group of subsidiary organizations and programs dedicated to the same mission. These include St. Dominic Hospital, the Community Health Services Clinic, St. Dominic Medical Associates (physician network), New Directions for Over 55, MEA Clinics, The Club at St. Dominic’s, the School Nurse Program, St. Dominic’s Foundation, St. Catherine’s Village and Care-A-Van. For more information visit the St. Dominic's website.

About Our Lady of the Angels Hospital

Our Lady of the Angels Hospital, in Bogalusa, Louisiana, has a team of more than 500 employees committed to building a healthier community through excellence in patient care and community education. With a full-service acute care hospital, more than a dozen primary and specialty clinics, extended primary care and pediatric hours and a team of more than 300 credentialed providers, Our Lady of the Angels provides comprehensive healthcare services for the people of Washington Parish and the surrounding areas. Our Lady of the Angels is a teaching site for graduate medical education, in partnership with LSU Health – operating the only rurally located rural family medicine residency program in Louisiana and one of only 55 in the nation. Our Lady of the Angels is part of the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System and is driven by its mission to serve all of God’s people, especially those most in need. For more information visit the Our Lady of the Angels Hospital website.