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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Deaconess family room lets parents stay near hospitalized infants, children

UPDATED: Tue., July 17, 2018

Families with premature babies at Deaconess will now have more resources available to them without leaving the hospital.

In a partnership with the Ronald McDonald House, the hospital opened its first Family Room, on the same floor as the neonatal ICU.

The addition includes a full kitchen, laundry room facilities, a living room, children’s play area, shower facilities and four overnight rooms with queen-size mattresses.

The Family Room will allow mothers and other family members to stay close to their infants, said Julie Delaney, director of communications and marketing at Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Inland Northwest. Families can stay overnight, or come in to take a nap, get food or rest.

“When you have a child in the hospital, you want to stay near your child,” she said. “If a child is in a situation where the parent doesn’t want to leave the hospital or really can’t leave the hospital, this is a place for them to decompress.

Tori Pedersen is a new mom who delivered premature twins a few weeks ago. She said the room will help relieve stress for families with babies facing serious health issues. She stayed at a hotel after she was discharged, but said she never wanted to leave in case something happened while she was gone.

Even at a hotel, you’re still 20 minutes away,” she said. “If something does happen to your baby and there is an emergency, you can’t get there in time.”

Another advantage of the addition is that local families can benefit. The Ronald McDonald house serves families that need to travel to the hospital, but not those local to Spokane.

“We’ve been trying to have a family room at Deaconess for about 13 years,” Delaney said.

The family rooms will likely serve hundreds of patients per year, she said, and unlike the Ronald McDonald House, is open to anyone with a critically ill or injured child at the hospital.

“You need to live 40 minutes or 40 miles outside of Spokane to stay there because when you think about it, if you live in Spokane you can go home at the end of the day,” she said. “This family room is open to anyone who has a child in the hospital.”

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