1st Hungarian Ronald McDonald Family Center to open in Debrecen

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A homely community space designed and built by the Ronald McDonald Children's Foundation with the involvement of the clinic's professionals will be open to young patients and their families at the University of Debrecen's Pediatric Clinic from the end of April, according to a press release sent to the Budapest Business Journal.

The Ronald McDonald Family Center, built from the hospital's disused attic with a total investment of HUF 120 million, offers a living room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and play areas to help patients relax between lengthy treatments.

"Our colleagues working in patient care have already done a lot to ensure that the children who come to us do not see the clinic as a scary place, but feel that they have arrived in a supportive, friendly environment. The Ronald McDonald Family Center is a further significant step forward in this work," said Prof. Dr. Zoltán Szabó, president of the Clinical Center of the University of Debrecen, at the opening ceremony.

After several years of planning, work on the 170 sqm, previously unused attic space began last fall. In addition to the extensive static, water-gas, heating, electrical, and architectural work, a completely new interior was created, and as part of the accessibility improvements, the building's elevator now stops on the family center's level as well.
 
"For 28 years, the Ronald McDonald Children's Foundation has been helping families of young children with chronic illnesses. In Budapest and Miskolc with Ronald Houses built next to hospitals, in Pécs with Ronald Rooms at the Children's Clinic and now, for the first time in Hungary, with a Family Center in Debrecen. With the new investment, our goal was to provide families with a homey and relaxing environment to refreshen together and unwind from the often stressful everyday life between hospital treatments," said Dr. László Ablonczy, the professional head of the Ronald McDonald Children's Foundation and the head of the Children's Heart Center of the György Gottsegen National Cardiovascular Institute.

The family center in Debrecen is the 268th in the world, the first having opened in Kansas City in 1992. In Hungary, the Ronald McDonald Children's Aid Foundation has provided free accommodation for 13,000 families near hospitals during the last 28 years, while children underwent prolonged hospitalization.

The new Ronald McDonald Family Center has been made possible thanks to donations from guests of McDonald's restaurants in the country, the operators of the restaurant chain, and other companies, organizations, and individuals - to whom the foundation dedicated a plaque on the site.
 
During the day, the foundation's staff will be available to families at the center. The facility will be maintained jointly by the hospital and the foundation.

"Since the first plans were drawn up, we have supported the joint work of the foundation and the clinic, as we support all local investments in the development of healthcare. I am confident that the Ronald McDonald Family Center will make a significant contribution to helping young children recovering in our city get through their treatments more easily and quickly and return home healthy as soon as possible," added László Papp, Mayor of Debrecen.

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