The Valley’s first Ronald McDonald Family Room opened at The Edinburg Children’s Hospital last week offering a home away from home for families of children in the hospital.

Dana Garey, family room manager, said the room will be used by families that have children at the hospital. The room took approximately two months to complete.

“This family room is a smaller version of the Ronald McDonald house, only it is inside the hospital,” Garey said.

The family room is approximately 1,500 square feet and has three sleeping rooms, a living room/lounge, office space, a washer and dryer, kitchen and a full bathroom. The room also has Internet access, phone and cable services.

The family room is currently open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Plans to make it a 24 hour room is currently in the works and will be available to families in a priority need bases and first come first served.

“This is the first Family Room in the Valley, we are going to offer the rooms for napping, or if families want to come in and watch television or cook,” she said.

Because the room will only be open for certain hours, families will have a time limit to use the room.

“We are hoping all the families that have children here in the hospital take advantage of this room to some extent — if they want to come in and have a cup of coffee or wash clothes,” Garey explained.

“This will be a place for families to go escape the hospital atmosphere, we want them to feel relaxed and not rushed,” she said.

The family room is part of a $1.8 million plan by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Rio Grande Valley to expand its services and establish family rooms in five hospitals in the area. Other hospitals in its early planning stages for a family room include Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco, McAllen Medical Center and Valley Baptist Medical Center in Brownsville.