Monday, a first in the entire country will open inside the University of Rochester Medical Center. The families of children being treated for mental health concerns will have a space all their own.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester will open a Family Lounge in the Mental Health and Wellness Building. The space just inside the building looks like a small apartment, providing families a quiet place to relax, read, make something to eat or do laundry.
The Ronald McDonald House has provided this kind of respite for families of children since its inception, but the new space is the first connected to mental health care.
Dr. Michael Scharf, Chief of Child Psychiatry, says it’s an opportunity to care for families in a way that has not been done since in patient care was opened.
“Families and providers and caregivers should expect the same levels of support and comfort in mental health settings as we do in general pediatric settings,” said Dr. Scharf.
Nancy Wilkes, whose son received in patient care at URMC, says it’s sorely needed for families. She is also a board member of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester.
“The most important thing on being on the board was to start to be inclusive of all the children, regardless of what brought them to the hospital to begin with,” said Wilkes.
The lounge officially opens Monday. Both hospital and Ronald McDonald leaders say it's a just the beginning of a new partnership for mental health care in our community.