COVID-19 updates
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COVID-19 Update for Ronald McDonald House South Island

17 August 2021

The information below is current as of August 17, 2021.

Ronald McDonald House South Island (RMHSI) is an essential service.  This means our core purpose to enable family centred care by keeping families together when their child is in hospital away from home will be fulfilled throughout all national alert levels.

Many of the families staying at Ronald McDonald House have children with compromised immunity due to their medical conditions and treatment plans.  These children are at a high risk from Covid-19.

To ensure the safety of patients, families, our team, and essential volunteers, RMHSI has re-introduced a series of actions according to Alert Level status that will ensure we can safely continue to provide accommodation and support for families with a child undergoing medical treatment.

The following actions are in effect, these actions have been guided by the Ministry of Health and in collaboration with our partner District Health Boards:

  • Non-essential volunteers, visitors and activities have been paused until further notice.
  • All persons who require access to the House must go through a stringent screening and sanitisation process before entering.
  • Additional sanitisation in communal areas is being undertaken by the team as per Ministry of Health recommendations.
  • Physical distancing measures are in place
  • All entrances to the House are closed off to visitors. Only families staying at the House and team members have direct access to our facilities.
  • Should the demand for accommodation exceed our capacity we will continue to support families off-site in self-contained accommodation which is located close to the Hospitals. The cost of this is taken care of by RMHSI.

Screening of all families, our team, and volunteers prior to entering the House and Family Rooms

All families, volunteers and our team will be screened prior to entering a facility to minimise the opportunity of inadvertently spreading the virus.

Supporting families

At an already stressful time for families, the risk from Covid-19 adds a new level of anxiety.  They need our support more than ever.  If you are able to help support families, please donate here.  Our team would be grateful to receive donations of non-perishable food items – please leave these items at the front door.  We will keep you updated as the situation changes.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are your programmes still operating?

Yes –  the Ronald McDonald House in Christchurch is still providing accommodation and food for families who have a child undergoing medical treatment for those families who are currently staying with us.

At Alert Level 4 any new families who require our services will be accommodated off-site in self-contained accommodation with support from our team provided remotely.  No new families will be allowed into the Ronald McDonald House bubble.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Christchurch Hospital is temporarily closed from August 18 and will remain closed until we receive further advice from the Canterbury District Health Board.

The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Southland Hospital is temporarily closed from August 18 and will remain closed until we receive further advice from the Southland District Health Board.

The Family Rooms are now being utilised as respite areas for the Hospital teams.

Are you turning any families away?

No, we are not, we are committed to ensuring that any eligible family who requires accommodation close to the hospital is welcomed.  A thorough screening programme is in place to ensure the wellbeing of all families, our team, and volunteers.  These families will be accommodated in off-site in self-contained accommodation during Alert Level 4.

Are visitors allowed?

No visitors access during Alert Level 4

Is the Family Dinner Programme still running?

As of Wednesday August, 18, we have paused volunteer groups preparing the Family Dinner Programme for three days. We have alternate plans in place for the families to ensure all under our roof continue to receive nutritious home-made meals.

Donations during Lockdown

If you would like to donate frozen meals, or non-perishable food supplies, please contact our General Manager Operations, Sharon Cocker at [email protected] who will be able to provide an update of what families need.

Grocery vouchers are very useful as it means we can purchase items depending on the changing needs of those staying at the House. Please send vouchers to Ronald McDonald House South Island, PO Box 1463, Christchurch 8140.

If you are able to support families currently staying in our facilities, please consider a cash donation at This will allow us to continue our operations, including providing accommodation and meals to families staying at Ronald McDonald House

Are your events and fundraisers still going ahead?

At this stage yes.

What happens if someone in the House tests positive for Covid-19?

If anyone has a positive diagnosis for Covid-19 they will not be able to stay at the House.  Our facility is not equipped to support the self-isolation that these situations require.  We are also not in the position to provide the House as a quarantine space.

We have protocols in place to act swiftly and with compassion to utilise the services of our partner hospital and Public Health to ascertain how the family will be supported and transported home or to a suitable isolation facility, or if need be to hospital.

Further, we will also work closely with Public Health on the necessary steps to follow for isolating known contacts, traceability of people in our House, evacuation the House if necessary and other measures.

We truly understand this will be a challenging time for families and volunteers of Ronald McDonald House South Island – please rest assured we are doing everything we can to provide the best support that we are able. Thank you in advance for helping us to achieve this.


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