House eases burden
■ A new home for regional families of seriously ill children has been likened to a mini-hotel, able to accommodate up to 220 people a night.
The $29 million Ronald McDonald House Perth was launched last week.
It has a greatly increased capacity and provides more comfort than the old facility.
After 25 years in Subiaco, the house has been moved to near the Perth Children’s Hospital being built in Nedlands.
Unlike the previous 18-room facility where conditions were cramped, it has 47 family rooms and can accommodate nearly three times as many families.
It was funded mostly by the State Government and corporate donations from companies including BHP Billiton and Fortescue Metals Group.
House executive officer Peter King, who took patron Adam Gilchrist through the facility this week, said it would help relieve some of the burden on families of seriously ill children having hospital treatment.
The average stay was 20 days, but some families who had children with cancer and other longer-term medical conditions could stay six months or more.
“We’ve had one family who have spent 752 days over a period of five years staying at the old house,” Mr King said.
“What we’re trying to do at the new house is to create an environment that allows them to live as families, and not feel like they’re living on top of one another. It even has a gym, so people can burn off a bit of stress and fill in a bit of time.”
Mr King said the construction was fully funded but there would be continuing operating costs.
Patron of Ronald McDonald House Adam Gilchrist and executive officer Peter King.