Ronald McDonald House Charities funds a Sibling Center in Tucson
The Ronald McDonald Sibling Center
will be an extension of the Play Zone
to best serve patients and families.
When a brother or sister is in the hospital, young siblings can feel left out or as if their needs are put to the side, even when this is not the case. That is why the Banner Children’s team of Child Life specialists provides support to siblings in addition to helping pediatric patients and their parents cope with the hospital experience.
Greatly enhancing this support, plans for the Ronald McDonald Sibling Center are underway at Diamond Children’s Medical Center in Tucson. To be situated on the hospital’s first floor, the Sibling Center will be an extension of the Play Zone to best serve patients and families.
“My board of directors and I are thrilled with the opportunity to create a Ronald McDonald Sibling Center at Diamond Children’s,” says Kate Maguire Jensen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona. “Very often, we have families at the Ronald McDonald House with a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit and another young child to care for. They need safe, supervised childcare so they can focus on the hospitalized child. The new Sibling Center will meet these needs and relieve some stress for parents.”
Child Life Specialists will plan developmentally appropriate activities for siblings of hospitalized patients ranging in age from 3 to 12. Activities will focus on free play, choices, and have themes attached to encourage normalization.
The Child Life team can also educate siblings about what is happening with their brother or sister, support their emotional and developmental needs, engage them in finding ways they can be supportive of their brother or sister, and ensure siblings know they are special, too — even when their brother or sister seems to be getting a lot of special attention.
“It’s a wonderful partnership with the Banner Children’s Child Life program. It will be an incredible benefit for families that stay at the Ronald McDonald House and a gift to our entire community,” Jensen states. Past support by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona includes The Ronald McDonald Family Room® at Diamond Children’s Medical Center, a space just for parents to rest and relax while their children are receiving care and treatment.
Stay tuned for updates on the Sibling Center, slated to open in Fall 2024. And, look out for opportunities to get involved as a volunteer, as Banner Children’s Ronald McDonald House Charities will recruit and train individuals to help support the Sibling Center.