For First-Time Guests at the Durham House

  • Your residence is 50 miles, or more, away from the medical facility where treatment is being received.
  • The patient receiving medical treatment is 21 years or younger.
  • The medical treatment being received is occurring in a facility where caregivers are not able to stay bedside or the treatments are on an outpatient basis.
  • All guests must be deemed appropriate for residing in a community environment, passing a background check process for all adults over 18.

If you have stayed at the Ronald McDonald House of Durham before, please see the Returning Guests page.

When the Family Care team receives a referral, the information will be placed in the request system and background checks completed. A team member will contact your family before your stay to confirm the request accuracy and to share information about the House.

It is important to note that the Ronald McDonald House does not take reservations ahead of time and typically cannot confirm room availability more than 24 hours in advance. On the day of your request, you are asked to call the House at 12pm; at that point, a Family Care team member will be able to tell if there will be a room available for you and your family. Please be prepared to have secondary housing arrangements.

If anyone in the family has had a fever, diarrhea, cold symptoms, or sore throat in the last 48 hours, they will not be eligible to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. All guests are required to report any cold, flu, or viral infections to the Family Care staff immediately.

There are 55 rooms in the House, each with a slightly different configuration and size. Most rooms comfortably hold 3 individuals, with an option of a roll away cot.

Each night, a volunteer group will prepare a hot meal for the guests of the House, ready at 6:00 pm. All families are invited to share in the meal; the leftovers are placed in fridges, available to access 24 hours a day.

The House also has a fully stocked kitchen, where families can prepare their own meals and snacks. There are private fridges and pantry cabinets available for storing items for individual families. Families are invited to enjoy food in the House kitchen and dining room, or may also take it back to their room.

Each family may have up to three adult caregivers inside the House at any one time. All adult guests of the House must check in at the front desk to receive a red wristband, regardless of whether they plan to stay overnight. Additional family members are welcome to visit with you in any of our available outdoor spaces.

There is no cost to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. Guests are encouraged to leave a $10 -$15 donation, per night.

Families are eligible to stay at the Ronald McDonald House of Durham for as long as the medical treatment necessitates. The Family Care team will work closely with the medical providers to determine the needed length of stay.

When you and your family check-in, we will complete about 10 minutes of paperwork and then provide you with a tour of the House. Each family will be required to sign a guest contract and provide an emergency contact. During check-in, each adult will receive a red wristband, which they are to wear during the entirety of their stay. A parking pass and room key card will also be provided. Each adult intending to stay overnight should present a valid photo ID.

At the Ronald McDonald House, there are several rooms and areas for your family to enjoy during their stay. There is a computer room, along with wi-fi access throughout the building. Children may enjoy our indoor and outdoor play areas, right across from an outdoor grill and patio. There are also two fully stocked laundry rooms in the House, free of charge and open 24 hours a day.

Each room has a television with cable access and a DVD player. Within the House, families may borrow game systems, books, movies, puzzles, and board games to enjoy.

Due to the generosity of community partners, the House is able to offer free activity passes to local events and leisure activities. Information about specific passes or tickets will be provided to families on an ongoing basis. Additional services, such a haircuts or manicures, will be offered for free in the House on an occasional basis.

The Ronald McDonald House collaborates with Duke Transportation to provide a shuttle, 7 days a week, from the Ronald McDonald House to the main entrance of Duke Hospital. The shuttle runs approximately every two hours. See shuttle schedule.

Each room is supplied with linens for the bed as well as bath towels and wash cloths. A welcome bag will be placed in each room that will typically include basic toiletries, a snack, and a small toy. Guests are able to borrow hair dryers and irons for use within the rooms.

For rooms with a kitchenette, pots, pans, and tableware will be provided.

Tobacco products may only be used in the designated smoking area. Alcohol or any form of illegal substances are not permitted on the property.

A portion of the rooms at the Ronald McDonald House are reserved for families who require an environment for a child who is immunocompromised. These rooms are set up in suite style with a kitchen, bathroom, and laundry facilities in the room.

Only certified as service animals are allowed to stay with families at the Ronald McDonald House. We ask that guests confirm that their service animal meets all ADA standards to qualify before the stay begins.

There are two breast pumps and two deep freezers for breastmilk storage at the House.

Families may use their room key cards in all exterior exits and come and go as needed. We ask that after 9 pm, families are considerate of others sleeping and do not interact loudly in the halls or common spaces.

Families are only able to have one room at the Ronald McDonald House.

The Ronald McDonald House does not set up hotel reservations. Please call Med-Stay (877-633-7829) to locate and arrange for a discounted hotel room near the treating medical facility.