Attention to Children with Cancer and Other Long Term Diseases and their Families in Economic and Social Vulnerability

Project location: SPAIN, Barcelona
Project start date: August 2017 - Project end date: August 2018
Project number: 2017-041
Beneficiary: Fundacion Infantil Ronald Mcdonald - Casa Ronald Mcdonald Barcelona

The Ronald McDonald House of Barcelona was opened in 2002, and belongs to the Fundación Infantil Ronald McDonald, an autonomous non-profit organization that works for the well-being of children and their families.
The first House in Spain was opened in 2002, the Ronald McDonald House of Barcelona, very close to the Hospital Universitari Vall d’Hebron. In 2012 was opened the House in Málaga located 200 meters from the Hospital Materno-Infantil and the Hospital Civil. The third House of the Foundation, nationwide, was opened in València in 2013 inside the hospital area of the Hospital Universitari i Politècnic La Fe. In 2015 the Madrid House has been opened inside the area of the Hospital del Niño Jesús.

Since 1974, RMHC has created programs that strengthen families during difficult times. RMHC provides vital resources and compassionate care to children and their families being served by leading hospitals worldwide. Core RMHC programs — Ronald McDonald Houses, Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, and Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles — provide access to health care and enable family- centred care. RMHC has helped lessen the burden for more than 7 million families in 2015. Their network of local Chapters has been making children happier and healthier by keeping families close – giving them a place to rest and refresh. A place that feels like home. These programs, tailored to meet the urgent needs of each community, can now be found in more than 63 countries and regions across the globe.

The serious childhood diseases require long specialized treatments that can only be carried out in very specific hospitals located in big cities. This means that many families have to leave their houses in order that their child can receive the treatment, and at the same time one of the family members has to leave temporarily his/her job.

The main direct consequence of this situation is a clear deterioration of the family economy, due to the increase of expenses for transportation, feeding, medical consultations and medications. This prevents the families from being able to pay for a proper accommodation. To that situation it must be added the worry for the disease, and this generates a high distress in the parents that is transmitted to their children, thus difficulting many times the healing process.
This project permits that the families that have to leave their home in order to take care of their sick child can have a home away from their home.

BENEFICIARIES. 300 families with a sick child that receive long term medical treatment and that come to the House for the first time, and 500 families with a sick child that have to continue the treatment, and therefore , repeat stays in the House
Profile. Children with cancer or other long term diseases, that need long term treatments, and that have to move with their family from their home in order to receive long term treatments in referral hospitals in Barcelona. The families are referred from social workers in the hospital or by the doctors.
When a child has to undergo a long term medical treatment in a referral hospital, far from his/her home, he/she needs to be able to live in a nice place and accompanied by his/her parents until the treatment is finished.
The house accommodates the families free of charge and during all the necessary time for the child recovery, and takes charge of the stay and maintenance of the building.

VOLUNTEERS IN THE HOUSE. Volunteers are essential in the daily operation of the House. They are the ones that accompany the children and families during their stay, listening, educating, playing or simply “being there”. They organize the daily recreational activities with children, taking the leading role of the free time of families and children staying in the house.
All volunteers are covered by a public liability and accident insurance, and they abide by a volunteers program. Volunteers have a very direct and tight relationship with children in the houses.

Personalized attention to the families
Organization of leisure and free time activities
Volunteers training
Awareness and charitable actions

The Nando Peretti Foundation, Delegació a Catalunya awarded a grant for this project to improve the quality of life of the sick children and their family environment through assistance and social support.
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