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Frequently Asked Questions

Who can use the facilities?

  • Ronald McDonald House South Island (RMHSI), through its House and Family Room programmes, provides accommodation and support services to families who must travel away from their home to receive specialist medical treatment, or who have a child in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), or other specialist paediatric High Dependency Unit (HDU). RMHSI enables family-centred medical care by ensuring families can remain together, close by the partnering hospital.
  • Eligible families can stay with us when their child (18 years and under) is required to attend a consultation as an outpatient, as well as when they are in-patients receiving treatment and/or surgery.
  • A family is best described as parents, guardians, siblings or essential caregivers who will be directly involved in the daily support of the paediatric patient receiving treatment either as an in-patient or outpatient at the partnering hospital.

How do we find out if we are eligible to stay?

  • Families of children (18 years and under) are referred to us through their doctor, district health board or social worker.
  • In order to stay at Ronald McDonald House Christchurch while your child (18 years and under) is having treatment in Christchurch, we would need to receive a referral (booking) for you from your District Health Board’s National Travel Assistance office.
  • If you are needing to travel away from home for your child’s treatment in Christchurch and your travel distance is more than 100km one way, generally speaking you should be eligible for National Travel Assistance provided by the Ministry of Health.
  • National Travel Assistance covers the cost of your travel to Christchurch and home again, as well as a subsidy for accommodation with us. (The balance of accommodation costs are generously donated by the supporters of Ronald McDonald House South Island.)
  • Here’s a link to see the Ministry of Health eligibility criteria for National Travel Assistance:
  • After checking this link, a next step would then be to contact the Patient Travel Administrator at your regional hospital, as they will be able to confirm your eligibility and explain the options to you.

What will it cost us to stay?

There is no charge for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House Christchurch. We rely on the generous support of the public, businesses and volunteers to operate our facilities and we undertake our own internal fundraising to meet costs.

How do I book accommodation?

Your Patient Travel Administrator or Social Worker will generally arrange your visit. Please note: Self-referrals will not be accepted.

What do I need to bring?

Ronald McDonald House Christchurch offers bedrooms complete with bed and bath linen. There are also free shared laundry facilities and fully equipped kitchens stocked with basic food items. Bassinets, port-a-cots, strollers, car seats and other baby items are available for use at the House in Christchurch, as well as an extensive range of books, toys, games and DVDs.

Dinner is served most weeknights at Ronald McDonald House Christchurch, free of charge, from 6 pm. You will only need to bring your personal items such as toiletries, clothing, communication devices etc.

For any additional food requirements, there is a New World Supermarket nearby on Durham Street, just a 2-minute drive away, or Fresh Choice on Lichfield Street, a 9-minute walk from the Christchurch House.

Is there wheelchair access?

Yes. Shared areas at Ronald McDonald House Christchurch are fully accessible. A number of bedrooms are also fully accessible, including purpose-designed wet floor showers. Please inform us at the time of your booking if you require an accessible bedroom.

Is childcare provided?

The care and behaviour of children at our facilities is the responsibility of their parent or guardian. Children up to the age of 18 years must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times and must not be left unattended in the House.

Are we allowed visitors?

  • Visitors are welcome in the House from 9am until 9pm each night. Out of the respect of the other families we ask you to limit the number of visitors.
  • All visitors will be asked to sign in on arrival.
  • Visitors are not permitted in guest rooms but are welcome in the shared areas.
  • Please ensure your visitors are:
    • Aware many of the children staying in the House are seriously ill and undergoing treatment.
    • Guests must also be made aware of House Rules, particularly those relating to smoking, alcohol and banned substances.
    • Large groups of visitors can feel intimidating to other House families if they dominate shared spaces, so please be sensitive to others’ needs.
    • Unfortunately we cannot accommodate visitors for family dinner nights as this makes it difficult for our volunteers to cater accurately.

What if I, or one of my visitors, is sick?

Ronald McDonald House Christchurch often accommodates outpatients receiving treatment for serious illnesses, therefore it is vitally important that all guests and their visitors must be infection free.

Special information regarding Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

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

Prior to admission, the following wellness questions will be asked:

  • Do you currently have an elevated temperature of 37.5C or higher, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or other flu-like symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea?
  • Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical professional?
  • In the past 14 days, have you had close contact with a person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical professional? (Close contact is defined as being within 1 metre for 15 minutes or more or living within the same household).
  • Have you been told by a healthcare provider or public health official that you should self-quarantine due to potential COVID-19 exposure(s) or that you are suspected of having COVID-19?
  • Registered families staying at Ronald McDonald House Christchurch may not return home or alternate days/weeks with other family members.
  • People with flu-like symptoms will not be permitted to enter our facilities.

Many of the children staying at Ronald McDonald House have suppressed immune systems, making even a slight infection possibly very serious.  Please check your immunisations are up to date and let us know if you have:-

Had any exposure to a confirmed case of the following over the past 3 weeks:-

  • Chicken pox
  • Measles
  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Mumps
  • Whooping Cough
  • Head Lice
  1. If you have had any of the following over the past 2 days:-
  • Fever (higher than 38 degrees C)
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Flu symptoms (stiff neck, headache with a fever)
  • Cold symptoms (runny nose, cough, congestion, sore throat, watery eyes)
  • Skin rash or skin lesions that are ‘weepy’

 Special Information regarding Measles

In respect to the measles outbreak in New Zealand, all persons entering Ronald McDonald House, or the Ronald McDonald Family Rooms should either:-

  • Be fully immunised (received two doses of MMR vaccine – typically given at 15 months and 4 years)
  • Had one immunisation, we recommend you contact your health professional to receive your booster(s)
  • Had previously had measles (but not recently)
  • Been born before 1969

If you have not been immunised or are not sure, you should contact your GP to test your immunity and have this confirmed prior to coming to the House or Family Room.

Under no circumstances can guests who have been in contact or diagnosed with measles, chicken pox or shingles, or who have had an episode of vomiting or diarrhoea in the last 48 hours, be allowed to enter our facilities. People with flu-like symptoms are also not permitted to enter our facilities.

Can I be reached by phone?

Every room in the House has its own telephone. The House phones are equipped with voicemail. You will be given your extension number on arrival.

Can all of my family stay at the House?

We provide accommodation to the patient’s primary caregivers and to the patient’s siblings. The only children allowed to stay at Ronald McDonald House South Island are the patient and siblings of the patient child.

How many people can stay in a room?

A family staying in the House is entitled to one bedroom. There are limits on the number of people who can stay in each bedroom, which vary depending on the size of the room. Your family will be allocated a bedroom accordingly. Two people maximum can stay in a room at the Family Room.

Is there parking?

We offer car parking (one car park per family) at no cost for those staying at the House.


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