to the Ronald McDonald House in Tübingen
At the paediatric intensive care unit in Tübingen, there is a window with an unobstructed view of a very unusual house. Many parents here at the University Hospital, who are hoping their children will recover, are reassured by the sight of the building, because the house, two minutes from the hospital bed, is their home away from home.
Since November 2011, the 17th Ronald McDonald House has been accommodating parents and siblings of seriously ill children. Children who are maybe having an organ transplant, who were born prematurely or who have cancer. So, thanks to McDonald's Children's Aid, parents can stay right next door to their children around the clock.
A home away from home – for days, or even for months
The first Ronald McDonald House in Baden-Wuerttemberg was designed by Hamburg's star architects Hadi Teherani. Kitted out with Axor and Hansgrohe bathroom products, even the bathrooms in the 30 family apartments contribute to the feelings of comfort and security: with mixers from the Axor Uno² collection and Raindance Showerpipes from Hansgrohe. The Black Forest company also donated Axor Uno kitchen mixers for the communal kitchen.
The Tübingen team cares for around 600 families of up to four people every year. “The feedback we are getting is positive without exception”, reports Doris Jones, the house manager. “Many of our families see the bathrooms as a blessing. The bathroom products help the parents to experience a moment of peace and normality at least once a day.”
Showering can be an invigorating ritual and provide relaxation for the mind as well.
As you can imagine: every private moment – and particularly those minutes spent under the shower – is important to someone who has just spent an anxious night on a hospital chair. “No matter how many hours the parents have spent keeping vigil at their child's bedside”, said Jones, “they are always really glad to be able to come here and take a shower.”
Two of the 30 bathrooms are accessible to people with disabilities and are designed specifically for the needs of disabled parents and siblings, but also for the young patients themselves. As soon as they are strong enough to leave the hospital, they can spend a few hours surrounded by their family in the Ronald McDonald House.
Having the family close by helps the healing process
Studies show that an holistic approach such as this speeds up the healing process. Dr. Michael Bamberg, senior medical director and chairman of the University Hospital Tübingen and initiator of the project, is well aware of this benefit. “The young patients overcome their illnesses better when their parents are nearby.”
Get involved in the McDonald's Children's Aid Foundation's work
Since 1987 the McDonald's Children's Aid Foundation has been promoting the health and welfare of children. The Foundation runs 17 Ronald McDonald Houses located near children's hospitals all over Germany. The houses of the charitable organisation (the new buildings) are financed by the MacDonald's company, and the operating costs etc. are financed by the parents' portion of the rent and by donations from the region. For Hansgrohe, regional proximity was one more reason to support the house. You can find more information, including ways to donate, on the McDonald’s Children's Aid website.