Staying Here FAQs

What do I need to know after a room has been confirmed for my family?
If you would like to make the check-in process a little bit faster, please print the House Policies and read them before check-in. This will ensure you are familiar with our House and you can have your questions ready for Susan or Ashley who checks you in. Once your tour is complete you can sign the House policies.Families can check in between 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM; however, exceptions can be made upon request.
All adult guests are required to have a photo ID with them at check-in. When the family arrives at the House, they will be required to complete the check-in process with a Guest Services Manager. During this check-in process, the family will receive a brief introduction, a review of House policies and procedures and will take a quick tour of the House. A Ronald McDonald House Guest Services Manager will also show the family to their private bedroom/bathroom and code the guestroom. After this orientation, families are able to return to the hospital, relax in their room, enjoy a meal with their family and other guests in the dining room or spend time in any of the common areas within our House. 
What do I need to bring with me to check in?

Please bring the following with you for check in:

  • Your photo ID.
Who may stay at Ronald McDonald House? Can other family members stay with a guest family?

Parents or legal guardians of any child may reside at Ronald McDonald House. Parents are welcome to bring siblings but note that child care is not provided and that an adult must supervise children at all times. Anyone outside the immediate family, such as an aunt, uncle or grandparent, must be helping to serve as support for the family and must be approved by your social worker/case worker and RMHC management. We can provide only one room per family. In compliance with Fire Code Regulations, we do have a maximum capacity for each room. The maximum number of people per room is dependent on the size of the room. Rooms range in occupancy size from 4-5 people. Our largest rooms are for oncology patients.

How many people can stay in a Ronald McDonald House room?

The number of family members per room depends on the room size:

  • Standard room – 4
  • Large room — 5 (these rooms are reserved for oncology families)

Can a family have more than one room; for example, a second room for a nurse or grandparents?
Although the House has 36 rooms, we are always full to capacity and always have a waiting list. As a result, we limit the rooms to one per family.

Will the background check include a credit check?

We do not conduct a credit check or see any credit history information.

One Family member has been convicted of a crime but others have not, does that exclude all members from staying?

While the family member with the conviction may not be able to stay or visit at the House, the rest of the family is still welcome to stay, pending availability.

Can I speak to someone in more detail about my background check?

You are welcome to call the House and speak to Susan or Ashley about your personal circumstances. Most traffic violations will not be seen as a reason for denial. A denial is not made lightly.

Is there a fee to stay at the Ronald McDonald House?

It costs $121 a night per room to operate the Ronald McDonald House program. To support the ongoing operations of the House, we ask guests to make a donation of $15 per night, or whatever they are able, in order to continue the House operations for future guests. However, no family is ever turned away due to their inability to contribute. Please discuss any questions with Susan or Ashley. If your family needs a reduced or waived fee, please discuss this with your social worker and they will contact us directly. We also work with families to see whether a third party, such as medical insurance, will pay. If you have insurance or Medicaid, please contact them before coming to Ronald McDonald House to establish what is required for them to pay for your stay.

May a family stay at Ronald McDonald House if their child is being seen as an outpatient only?

Yes. A family is welcomed to a room at Ronald McDonald House whether their child is inpatient or outpatient. The child must be age 21 or younger. All patients must be accompanied in the House by a parent or guardian at all times. For any family whose child is being treated on an outpatient basis, the child must be receiving treatment at least three times per week, unless you are here for a one day return appointment. (Exceptions to this may be approved on a case-by-case basis by Susan or Ashley). It is important to note the family may be required to show proof of treatment frequency to Susan or Ashley.

Is there a maximum length of stay at Ronald McDonald House?

Yes, families are not booked for longer than 90 days. If you need a stay longer than 90 days, Susan or Ashley will review your request and make a decision based on several factors including your child’s treatment plan, input from your child’s case worker or social worker, and the priority of other families on the wait list.

Can a family go home and keep their room?

The House maintains a waiting list of families requesting rooms at Ronald McDonald House. If a family is unable to use their room at least once each day, RMHC will request that they check out so that another family may be served. However, we understand that families may need to go home for a couple of days at a time to take care of personal matters. In those cases, please contact Susan or Ashley to make arrangements.

If a family needs to return at a later date, can they reserve a room?

Unfortunately, we cannot reserve a room for a particular visit. However, if it has been 90 days or less since the last visit, a family can call the House directly and Susan or Ashley will fill out a referral. If it has been more than 90 days, a referral will need to be sent by the hospital social worker or case worker. Families will be notified 48 hours prior to the requested check-in date (or 1 week prior for families traveling from Hawaii, Alaska and one month in advance for those traveling from outside the United States) regarding availability.

If a room is not available, the family will be placed on our wait list. The wait list is neither a reservation nor a guarantee to a room. Hospital social workers or case workers should be able to help locate temporary housing alternatives. In addition, RMHC has a list of local hotels which offer our wait list families discounted rates.

Is smoking permitted at Ronald McDonald House?

There is no smoking anywhere inside Ronald McDonald House. There is, however, one designated outdoor area for smoking. This designated smoking area is THE ONLY place smoking is allowed. The rest of our House and grounds are smoke free.

Does Ronald McDonald House provide counseling?

There is no formal counseling program, but families do receive support from staff, volunteers and other families going through similar experiences.

Can flowers, packages and gift baskets be sent to a family while they are staying at Ronald McDonald House?
Yes. We accept deliveries during normal business hours and will be happy to forward them to the family. Because families sometimes check out unexpectedly, it is best to call and confirm that a particular family is still staying at the House before you send anything.
Please note, we may not accept any delivery of medical supplies or medications. A family representative must be present to receive such deliveries.
Are families permitted to have visitors?

Limited day visitors are welcome, but must be met at the front door by the family they are visiting, sign in at the front desk and receive a visitors wristband. Visitors are welcome in all common areas of the House but not in guest bedrooms.The children living at Ronald McDonald House are medically fragile and highly susceptible to infections. Any person who has a physical condition that would endanger the health of our other guests, such as a cold or flu, chickenpox, etc., may not visit Ronald McDonald House. Visiting hours are between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM.

Is food available at Ronald McDonald House?

Ronald McDonald House has two kitchens for our families to use. Each family is provided with their own small kitchen cabinet for dry food, as well as common refrigerator space (one shelf in a refrigerator) with a marked basket. The kitchen is fully stocked with cooking appliances and utensils. Free coffee is available 24/7 with a vending machine where guests may buy Coke products.We strive to provide at least one meal a day prepared by outside volunteer meal groups (civic groups, churches, area businesses, etc.), but we cannot guarantee a meal each day.

We also provide a pantry stocked with basic non-perishable food.

Can Ronald McDonald House assist me with tickets to local attractions?

Our House is fortunate to have tickets for several area attractions, including:

  • Maryland Zoo
  • Maryland Science Center (limited number)
  • National Aquarium (limited number)
  • Port Discovery Children’s Museum (limited number)
  • The Babe Ruth Museum
Is there babysitting service?

No. Parents are required to be responsible for their own children and provide supervision at all times. Children under the age of 21 may not be left alone in the House and any patient may never be alone in the House. Also, other House families cannot care for the child(ren) of another House family.

Is there a curfew?

To maintain the safety of our guests, the doors to Ronald McDonald House are always locked. Guests receive swipe cards so that they may come and go to suit the needs of their children. Quiet hours are between 9:00 PM and 9:00 AM. We ask that all House guests respect these quiet hours.

Will Ronald McDonald House provide me with transportation?

There is a shuttle service between Ronald McDonald House and the Johns Hopkins Hospital, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Sinai Hospital, University of Maryland Medical Center, UMMC Shock Trauma, Mount Washington Pediatrics Hospital. The House shuttle runs from 8:30 AM through 4:15 PM, Monday through Friday, at specific times to each location. We ask that all guests sign up for the shuttle the night before they need it because the shuttle does not run automatically.

In addition to House transportation, some local hospitals have their own transportation. The Johns Hopkins shuttle runs 7 days a week and offers transportation to Johns Hopkins, Kennedy Krieger and Mount Washington, but it does not run when the RMHC shuttle is in operation for the day. The University of Maryland has a shuttle which runs 7 days a week.

What is the relationship between the House and McDonald’s?

We are McDonald’s “charity of choice.” While McDonald’s owns the licensing rights to the Ronald McDonald House Charities name, we are individually owned, and operate as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Portions of our annual operating costs are graciously funded by McDonald’s and owner/operators of local McDonald’s restaurants in the Greater Baltimore area and on the Eastern Shore. The remainder of our annual operating income comes from the generosity of individual, corporate and foundation donors. No individual, group, corporate or foundation donor can solely support the Ronald McDonald House. We need the support of the entire community and greatly value any support you can extend to our charity, whether it’s through cash donations, your time or fundraising efforts.

Does Ronald McDonald House provide internet access?

Yes, wireless internet access is provided in our House.

What else does Ronald McDonald House offer?
    • Each family has their own bedroom with two beds, private bathroom, telephone, hairdryer, television, and DVD player.
    • Shared communal spaces include: kitchen and dining areas, large living room, a computer area with internet access, laundry facilities (washer and dryer), a game room, indoor and outdoor play areas and access to an exercise room.
    • We provide guest families with towels, blankets and other linens and ask only that, while in our House, guests take responsibility for keeping these items laundered.
    • We provide limited cleaning supplies, trash bags and paper products.
    • We often have basic food items and toiletries available.
    • We also have pack and plays.
    • While we do not offer medical supplies such as wheelchairs or shower chairs, we can accommodate families with wheelchairs.
    • Families are responsible for keeping their room in good condition, cleaning up after their family in all areas of the House and cleaning their rooms and linens as needed.
    • Free secure parking for one vehicle only.
What security measures are taken to ensure the safety of guest families?

At Ronald McDonald House, our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of our guest families. For this reason, we have various policies and safeguards in place: Anyone 21 years of age and younger must be accompanied by an adult relative or legal guardian.

For your health, all families are screened to prevent the spread of infectious diseases throughout our Ronald McDonald House. This screening takes place via the referral and check-in form.

No weapons of any kind are allowed on the property, even if you have a license to carry a weapon (concealed or otherwise).
The safety of all Ronald McDonald House families is very important to us. Please speak with a Guest Services Manager if anyone planning to stay with your family has a restraining order or “no contact” order. RMHC reserves the right to refuse admittance to any potential resident or guest with a criminal conviction. RMHC does not admit anyone with a felony or misdemeanor conviction that may threaten the health, safety, welfare, and ability of other individuals to peacefully enjoy the House (e.g., violent crimes, domestic violence, child abuse, sex offenses, illegal drug activity and/or burglary). RMHC also will not admit any individual who provides false, incomplete, or misleading responses during the formal criminal history background check process. RMHC, in its sole discretion, will make that determination before granting an individual’s application for temporary residence. RMHC also reserves the right to expel a guest for any other inappropriate, irresponsible, or criminal behavior that takes place while temporarily residing at the House.

Is there maid service?

No. Your room at Ronald McDonald House is your place to rest and rejuvenate as you care for your ill child. We ask that you take responsibility for maintaining your room while you are here, including cleaning your room daily, washing your own dishes and frequently laundering your bed linens and bath towels.

What type of activities does the Ronald McDonald House offer for my children to enjoy?

Our House offers a variety of areas for children and parents to relax and have fun:

  • Play room
  • Game room with a pool table, arcade games, ping pong table and air hockey table
  • Gaming systems such as Wii
  • Games cabinets with puzzles and board games
  • Planned activities, musical performers, therapy dogs and arts and crafts
  • Outside garden play area
  • Basketball hoop