The Ronald McDonald Family Room at Kings County Hospital gives caregivers access to a comfortable space with snacks and refreshments, entertainment and laundry, steps away from their admitted child.

From left to right: Board members Terry Bovin and Candace Leeds; Dr. Ivan Hand, director of neonatology; Dr. Ruth Brown, president and CEO, Ronald McDonald House NY; Dr. Mitchell Katz, president and CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals; Nelida Barreto, director of Programs, Hospital Outreach, and Family Rooms, Ronald McDonald House NY; Sheldon P. McLeod, president and CEO, NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County; Dr. Ninad Desai, chief of pediatrics; Dr. Steven Pulitzer, chief medical officer; Varessa Ford-Smikle and her baby boy; Opal Chung Sinclair, chief nursing officer. Photo courtesy Kings County Hospital.

On Tuesday, March 27, Kings County Hospital celebrated the one-year anniversary of the Ronald McDonald Family Room, alongside the milestone of 1,000 families and caregivers having been served by the family room since its opening.

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County Hospital is truly honored to have this unique partnership with Ronald McDonald House, which provides temporary and much-needed respite for the caregivers of our most vulnerable population – including our neonatal intensive care patients,” said Sheldon P. McLeod, hospital CEO. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to address the needs of our patients that are beyond the medical care we are privileged to provide.”

Kings County Hospital, which has played a major role in providing health care to the Brooklyn community since 1831, is the only health care facility in New York that is home to a Ronald McDonald Family Room. The facility has been able to extend its services to over 1,000 family members in its first year, giving caregivers access to a comfortable space with snacks and refreshments, entertainment and laundry, steps away from their admitted child.

“My son was born prematurely, via cesarean birth and unable to go home with me when I was discharged from the hospital,” said Varessa Ford-Smikle, a patient at Kings County Hospital. “The Ronald McDonald Family Room was a great resource during this difficult time and provided a great sense of comfort as it allowed me to be close to my son and actively participate in his care. I am grateful for the kindness I experienced.”

The family sanctuary at Kings County Hospital provides an extension of the services that have become synonymous with the Ronald McDonald House New York, which offers temporary housing for pediatric cancer patients and their families in a supportive and caring environment. It is the largest facility of its type in the world — and a safe haven for families while their child is on the road to recovery.


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