Ronald McDonald House considers Shriners amid expansion talks

Local News

Officials with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Dayton say they’re considering an expansion of their facility near Dayton Children’s Hospital, and they expect the relocation of Shriners Hospital to Dayton to impact demand for their services.

Shriners is set to relocate to the Dayton Children’s campus by summer 2020, officials announced Wednesday.

According to Rita Cyr, CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Dayton, the organization already sees such high demand that it has to turn some families away.

The Valley Street facility has been a home away from home provided to families and young patients receiving treatment at medical facilities across the area.

“We have a family of seven, so it’s so nice to have the big facilities and the cabinet space and the refrigerator,” said Kelly Vogelpohl, who is visiting from Minnesota and staying at the Ronald McDonald House while one of her sons trains with a service dog.

The Ronald McDonald House in Dayton has 14 guest rooms rooms, but that’s not enough, according to officials.

Last year, the organization had to turn down about 25 percent of families requesting to stay there, Cyr said.

“The house is overflowing with families from five different states,” Cyr explained. “Five different medical providers are using our facility right now, and we’re overflowing.”

Organization leaders have talked about expanding the facility, and she says Shriners Hospital’s move to Dayton from Cincinnati will impact the number of rooms needed, Cyr said.

And with hospitals trending toward outpatient treatment, different amenities are needed at the Ronald McDonald House, and families are staying longer, she added.

“Our average stay just a few years ago was five to seven days,” Cyr said. “Now it can be up to three, six months. We had a family that was with us nearly a year.”

As Shriners prepares its move to Dayton, Vogelpohl said she hopes Ronald McDonald House Charities can continue to accommodate more families like hers.

“This really is a house, not a hotel,” Vogelpohl said. “And it’s a family, and they treat you that way.”

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Dayton is still working to learn exactly how it will be impacted by Shriners Hospital’s move to the Gem City, Cyr said.

The organization will continue talks with its medical partners, community members and architects before moving forward with any plans for expansion, she added.

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