Making Life Easier at the Ronald McDonald House in Florida
Children and their families are at the center of what goes on at Ronald McDonald Houses like the one on Southeast 15th Street in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It’s never easy, though. The burdens and the contradictions of caring for a sick child pile up daily on families and staff alike.
Caregivers devote their lives to treating children – yet are pulled away from their bedside by labor- intensive medical requirements, regulations or even just administrative paperwork. Parents are asked to become Supermoms and Superdads, dealing with the illness as well as life’s many other responsibilities – namely, work.
“We have families here from all walks of life. We try our best to make the families comfortable,” says Flora Nwalupe, operations director of the Ronald McDonalds House Charities of South Florida. It’s never easy.
But what if the Fort Lauderdale Ronald McDonald House – indeed any Ronald McDonald House – took a fresh look, and considered where the bottlenecks are for staff, patients and families alike, identified their needs and wants, and designed their offices and processes accordingly? It would make it easier to both stay and be cared for without the struggle.
“What if?” asked the producers of Insight Television Productions, creators of Operation Build, which airs on the History Channel. They then asked Xerox and a business and office makeover transformation began.
As you will see in the Operation Build office makeover the result is what you would hope it would be. “It gives us an opportunity to really make a difference,” says Sid Bhattacharya, head of technology marketing and competitive intelligence for the Office Solutions Business Group at Xerox. With the installation of new equipment and software and the development of new processes, “it gave us more time to spend with the families. The families need us at all times,” Nwulpe said.
The advantages are in moments big and small. Sometimes the technology allows a family member to stay in closer communication with work, routing documents back and forth while needed. Other times, the payoff is much more tangibly joyful – for example, “the little girl we had in here a little while ago, she had her birthday picture. We printed it out and you saw her take it off the printer, and she was just so excited,” says Kara Rayburn, product manager with the Office Solutions Business Group at Xerox. “I really like my job on days like today.”