Frequently Asked Questions

Here our Operations Manager Anna Kirkpatrick will talk you through everything you should need to know while staying with Ronald McDonald House Auckland

Please click here to contact us if you have any further questions.

Please click on any of the questions below to read more:

Who can stay?
How do we book in?
What is the check-in process?
Are we allowed visitors?
Where can we get food from?
What are the House amenities?
How can we keep in touch with friends and family?
About the support services available to you
What do I need to bring?

Warmest welcomes in advance from all of us at Ronald McDonald House Auckland...

Who can stay?
We cannot accommodate you unless you have a referral from your Doctor or District Health Board or Social Worker (see how to book for more information). Our rooms can accommodate a maximum of 5 people, one room per family, and you can stay with us for the entire duration that your child is in Starship Hospital.

Families of children sent to Auckland for diagnosis or to receive treatment at Starship may stay at Ronald McDonald House Auckland for the duration of their treatment cycle, or until diagnosis is complete and they are discharged.

Caregivers of children in intensive care or high dependency units in Starship can stay at the Ronald McDonald Family Room short term. Usually the parents (two people maximum per room) are booked initially for 24 hours and then this is reviewed on a daily basis. When the child moves to the ward, if the family lives more than 100km from Starship it may be appropriate for them to move across to Ronald McDonald House Auckland.

Transplant children sometimes stay in the House with their families while waiting for surgery and while recovering from their operation, as do some oncology patients during longer treatment regimes.

A child is considered to be anyone under the age of 18. Sometimes when a family stays with us regularly (for oncology treatments or follow-up visits, etc), we can waive this age limit as these children and their families have become a part of our extended House family.

A family is best described as caregivers (parents, step parents, grandparents, foster parents, occasionally aunts or uncles) of patients, and their siblings (brothers or sisters or half brothers and sisters).

If a child other than those we’ve described usually lives with you as a permanent member of the household we may (depending on occupancy at the time) be able to accommodate them with you. Please ask if you need our help with this.

How do we book in?
To ensure you're eligible for travel and accommodation financial support, you must be registered with the Ministry of Health (The people who booked your stay should also have helped you with this).

Please note: You need your registration number before leaving or your travel and accommodation will not be funded – if it hasn’t arrived before you leave home, please contact your District Health Board.

If there is time, please call us on +64 9 365 8300 to confirm your booking 24 hours before you are due to arrive. (Things can change quickly at the hospital).

If you are bringing any primary or intermediate age siblings with you please remember to register them into the House school before you arrive. You can do this by contacting our School Liaison Officer, Lorraine Bunbury, on +64 9 365 8300 or click here to send us an email.

What is the Check-in process?
  1. To check in you must go to Ronald McDonald House Auckland Domain and our family liaison staff will advise you where you will be accommodated. We now have two facilities and are unable to guarantee which facility you will be staying at, as this very much depends on our occupancy levels at the time of your arrival
  2. Our administration is open from 8:30am until 9pm daily. Please ensure you arrive within these times
  3. Please also check your pre-arrival letter for additional instructions for everything we go through here (as things may change)
  4. If you arrive early, or indeed at any time in the morning, your room may not be immediately available. Ward rounds (when children are discharged), don’t happen until mid morning and we also do a thorough clean of rooms between families. Don’t worry if your room is not ready - we can still check you in and orientate you. We’ll store your luggage until your room has been cleared and thoroughly cleaned. In the meantime you can use the House facilities or go up to the hospital. Usually by the time you get back to the House your room will be available
  5. If you’re arriving the night before you are due at the hospital and we have your booking, please arrive no later than 9pm as we have limited staff cover in the evenings
  6. To ensure your stay at Ronald McDonald House Auckland is a comfortable one, we ask you to allow 20 minutes when you arrive for check-in and orientation. One of our Family Liaison staff will meet with you and take you through the House rules and give you a contract to sign. This acknowledges you have read and accepted our House rules
  7. If you’re staying at the Ronald McDonald Family Room® the staff there will also spend time with each family member explaining how the accommodation works and showing you to your room (this will take a much shorter time, so allow 5 minutes maximum)
  8. We ask everybody who is booked into the House, Family Room or one of the nearby motels to sign an agreement. This is so everyone staying with us understands the level of behaviour we expect, and so that everyone can have a comfortable stay. The rules aren’t onerous but cover things like child supervision in the House or nearby motel, use of the fitness centre, visitor rules and our drug and alcohol policies. (Click here to download a PDF of House Rules)
  9. You will also be told about regular House events like our free weekly family dinners that are cooked by volunteers, our regular van service for family shopping trips (thanks to the kindness of our trust partner kids @ Heart and our free of charge visits to Auckland Zoo and Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World
  10. Lastly, you will be taken on a tour of the House so you can find your way around and you will be shown both the car park and the location of your room. You will be issued electronic access keys to the House and be allocated a space in the kitchen for your personal food stores and shown the family laundry. Unfortunately the Family Room doesn’t have dedicated parking but your ward staff can assist you with this for short term periods.
Are we allowed visitors?
Visitors are welcome while you are with us. Please feel free to use our Ronald McDonald Family Room® on Level 3 of Starship to meet with your visitors who arrive while you are in Starship.

Visitors are welcome in the House from 10am until 9pm each night. We do ask that they are not invited by you to eat with our families on Family Dinner nights as this makes it hard for our volunteers who are donating their time and food.

All visitors will be asked to sign in on arrival. Please ensure that your visitors are aware that many of the children staying in the House are seriously ill and undergoing treatment. Families staying in the House are also often facing challenges. For this reason noisy, disruptive behaviour is not appropriate and will not be tolerated. Please also ensure your guests are made aware of House rules (click to download a PDF of these), particularly those relating to smoking, alcohol and banned substances. Lastly, large groups of visitors can feel intimidating to other House families if they dominate shared spaces, so please be sensitive to others’ needs.

We also ask that your visitors don’t come into the House and cook unsupervised for you. If your friends want to cook for you, let us know when they are coming and please ensure you are in the House with them while they are doing it, and make sure that they bring everything they require for your meal.

Where can we get food from?
We provide basic supplies such as cereal, bread, tea, coffee, sugar and milk. You will need to purchase your own daily food for breakfast, dinner and midday meals. You are allocated storage for your food and the communal kitchens will have everything you need to cook with.

For urgent basic supplies the closest dairy is on Level 5 in the main Auckland City Hospital building (2 minute walk away). It’s open 7am-6pm during the week and 9am-5pm weekends. The closest supermarket is Countdown, 76 Quay Street. It is open 24 hours, 7 days.

What are the House amenities?
  • There are beautiful shared kitchens and dining rooms for families to use. In them you’ll find all the equipment you’ll need to prepare your own meals
  • We have an onsite laundry for families which is open from 8am-10pm
  • We have a Fitness Centre at the Auckland Domain House which family members can use provided they have agreed to and signed the ‘Rules of Use’. Children under the age of 18 are not permitted to use the Fitness Centre
  • Internet Access is available from 7am-11pm daily. There are two computers with free internet (broadband) access for families to use but these do get busy so please bring your own computer if you need it to stay in touch regularly with your work, family or friends.

How can we keep in touch with friends and family?
Every room in the House has a phone. Your friends and family can call you directly on this by dialing +64 9 365 8300 then your extension number. Your phone extension is the same as your room number. You can make local calls from your room by dialing 1 for an outside line. Your phone also has a data-port socket for you to connect your laptop to an existing internet account via your laptop if you need to.

All Family Room bedrooms also have a phone. You will be given an extension number when you check in. Please ensure that your admitting ward has this number so they can stay in touch with you around the clock if need be.

If you have a mobile phone please bring it with you, as you cannot make toll calls from Ronald McDonald House® Auckland or the Ronald McDonald Family Room® phones.

Some families elect to make collect calls home. Alternatively, calling cards can be used to make calls home from the House or Family Room — these are a cost effective option.

Please ask your family and friends to send mail for your attention to:
c/- Ronald McDonald House Auckland
PO Box 110119
Auckland Hospital
Auckland, 1148

About the support services available to you
Are you in touch with the relevant support services for your child’s needs? Ronald McDonald House® Auckland doesn’t offer counselling or financial support for families other than a willingness to listen and emergency supplies of food items, nappies and the like.

Our mission is to offer a comfortable space while you are in Auckland away from your home, during the period your child is receiving treatment at Starship.

If your diagnosis is known and you haven’t already been in contact with the relevant support group for your child’s condition, let us know and we will introduce you and/or give you the contact details you need.

Each ward within Starship has a Social Worker. They can help you with other types of support you may need, such as with WINZ or issues related to financial hardship. If you need an interpreter these are also available in the hospital.

If you wish to see a Chaplain while you are here ask our Family Liaison staff to contact your choice of faith. See Starship’s website for a comprehensive list of links to support groups.

What do I need to bring?
Be sure to pack enough clothes and personal items for an extended stay if you are unsure how long you are going to be here. In the House we have a laundry for your use, but not in the Family Room which is for short stay accommodation only.

You do not need to bring any linen or towels as we provide these for you. Toys that are special to your child are fine, but don’t worry about bringing too many as we have communal play areas.

You will need to provide food for your family’s needs while here so it is a good idea to bring a bag of staple food items. Once you are here there are supermarkets nearby you can visit for a shopping trip if required. New World will kindly pick you up during the weekend. Each week two family dinners are provided and bread, milk, tea, coffee and cereal are available to all families.

Please bring a computer if you need it to stay in touch with your work, family or friends. We can show you where you can connect to the internet in both the House and the Family Room. We have two computers onsite with free internet (broadband) access for families to use but these do get busy.



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