17 Mar An Update on Our Response to The Circumstances Surrounding COVID-19
Please check this space for the most up-to-date information about RMHC CTX’s response to COVID-19. Most recent update: 2/23/21
The entire team at RMHC CTX has been working tirelessly as the COVID-19 situation has evolved in Central Texas. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our community and network as we work through our operations plan keeping our focus on the well-being of the families we serve (most of whom have children with compromised immune systems). As a member of our generous community of supporters, we would like to share the following updates about our community engagement:
- At this time we are asking all prospective meal providers to consider purchasing an individually portioned meal to be delivered from a restaurant. Please contact Andrew Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meal delivery. Alternatively, any community member can make a donation, which can help cover the cost of a meal and provide other comforts of home. We look forward to welcoming outside meal provider groups in the future.
- We have suspended all individual volunteer shifts in the Ronald McDonald House, in Ronald McDonald Family Rooms, and for the Happy Wheels Carts until further notice. We do, however, have ways you can volunteer from home.
- We welcome your support and need it more than ever! We do request that all donated items are provided through contactless delivery or sent through a delivery service such as Amazon – our wish lists can be found here.
- Starlight Affair 2021 is scheduled for June 5th and we are currently making plans for Bandana Ball in September. The RMHC CTX website will continue to be updated as we confirm details related to these events.
RMHC CTX has also made the following changes to our program operations in order to protect guest families and their hospitalized children.
Ronald McDonald House:
- After a temporary suspension of new guest families in March 2020, the Ronald McDonald House began welcoming new families on June 3, 2020. We currently have 25 of 30 guest suites available for guest families. New guest family admissions require new conditions that must be met for a family to qualify for a guest room. These conditions will be communicated to referred families by both our partner hospitals’ staff and our Guest Services staff.
- We have implemented new policies and procedures in order to keep current families and new guest families safe. We are limiting the number and type of outside visitors into the Ronald McDonald House – only two parents/caregivers along with the patient’s siblings are permitted to stay, and we are not permitting guest visitors at this time. We continue to conduct our regular procedure to screen all incoming families for contagious illnesses and have also begun daily symptom screening of all guest families. Guest families and staff are required to wear masks when in communal spaces, and our whole building will continue to receive more frequent, detailed cleaning.
- As it pertains to our staff members, many team members will continue to work from home and will not represent RMHC CTX at any 3rd party fundraisers or presentations until further notice. All non-essential meetings are being held virtually – either by phone or video conference.
Ronald McDonald Family Rooms:
- Bryan/College Station – CHI St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital in Bryan is open and serving families. CHI St. Joseph Health College Station Hospital was approved for reinstatement recently. We hope to continue to serve Baylor Scott & White families at the CHI St. Joseph Health College Station Hospital Family Room once we receive assurance that families can enter the hospital safely given the current restrictions.
- Austin – St. David’s Medical Center is managing the sleeping rooms on their own, but the common space is closed to visitors. North Austin Medical Center opened recently for use of the sleeping rooms that we will manage and the hospital has taken over the Family Room to use as a waiting room space due to construction. Dell Children’s Medical Center is managing the sleeping rooms on their own but the Family Room is closed to visitors. Seton Medical Center Austin is closed completely.
Happy Wheels Carts:
- We are working with each individual partner hospital to plan for alternative ways to distribute these important support items for families staying at their child’s bedside.
- The North Austin Medical Center Happy Wheels Cart is not currently running, but the Dell Children’s Medical Center Happy Wheels Cart is running once per week by way of Google Forms/QR code.
- The Bryan/College Station Happy Wheels Cart program is active at CHI St. Joseph Health Regional Hospital in Bryan and Baylor Scott & White Medical Center. Non-student volunteers are welcome back at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center only.
- For families who have experienced tragic loss, we continue to provide financial assistance for burial services.
- While we have suspended use of our Community Room for in-person bereavement counseling, we transitioned our HOPE group to a virtual format in Fall 2020, and will move forward in this format until it is safe to meet in person.
We continue to closely monitor guidance from government agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Labor, our RMHC Global leadership and others, regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”) and continue to follow their direction. Throughout the global health crisis, we continue to serve families with hospitalized children who are inside hospitals each and every day. We are grateful to our entire community for your continued support, which is so critical during this time.