Frequently Asked Questions
• Why is there a 60 mile radius requirement for a family to stay at the Rainbow House?
The intention of the Carolyn Scott Rainbow House has always been to meet the needs of families who must travel outside a 60 mile radius to Omaha for services at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. Last year the Rainbow House provided lodging for families from 29 states and two countries. To make sure we are meeting the ever growing needs of these families we continue to ask that families live outside the 60 mile radius to qualify to stay at the Rainbow House.
• What if a family is within the 60 mile radius and has extenuating circumstances that would make it a hardship to travel back and forth from home?
Although, our main focus is those families who live a long distance from Children’s we do make exceptions if there are extenuating circumstances. If you know or are a family with special needs please contact us. Each request will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
• A family was in the Children’s Emergency Department all night long. Their child was discharged but the family has a long drive back to their home. Can the family get a room at the Rainbow House?
Depending on the circumstances and whether a room is available the family is welcome to stay if they live outside the 60 mile radius. If they are waiting for a ride after discharge due to the patient being brought in by emergency transportation the family is welcome to come to the Rainbow House and utilize the common areas of the house while waiting for their ride.
• What if a family needs a break from the hospital and they live in Omaha or within the 60 mile radius?
All families are welcome to come to the Rainbow House and use the common area facilities, which include a laundry room and kitchen. There is a media room in which a family can watch television or a movie, a meditation room and a family/game room to relax in and let children play. There is also an outdoor patio with a small playground available outside the kitchen area that is also available for Children’s families. To be consistent with both those staying at the Rainbow House and those using it temporarily, we will go over the Rainbow House guidelines.
• How much does it cost to stay at the Rainbow House?
All monetary donations are greatly appreciated. There is a suggested donation per night but no one is turned away due to an inability to pay. You may make your donation using cash, check or credit card.
• Are there guidelines or policies to follow at the Rainbow House?
Yes. Upon check-in at the Rainbow House all parents, guardians or adult that is staying in a guest room will be asked for a valid ID that will be copied and attached to the guest contract. Each family is expected to sign a guest contract that explains rules and regulations for their stay. A staff associate will go over the contract with each new guest to answer any questions that he/she may have. A copy of each signed guest contract will be given to the guest for their convenience. Since the Rainbow House provides a communal setting, we ask all guests to respect other families and the house itself by following the policies. A failure to observe these policies can result in removal from the Rainbow House and the inability to stay there in the future.
• Who can stay at the Rainbow House and how many people are allowed?
Our first priority are the parents/guardians and siblings of the patient. There are a total of 56 guest rooms at the Rainbow House. All of the rooms have a queen size bed and a full size sofa bed. A few rooms provide two queen size beds and a full size sofa bed. All rooms must comply with the city’s fire code, which means we cannot place more people in a room than it is allowed to accommodate. Our policy is one room per patient family. Due to our focus on the immediate family we cannot provide accommodations for extended family. A list of hotels that provide discounts for Children’s families is available on request. All bathrooms have shower/tub accommodations. Four guest rooms have zero entry showers. If there are special needs or concerns please feel free to let us know so we can try to accommodate your situation.
• When should I make a reservation and when can I arrive?
We strongly suggest that as soon as you know your child’s date(s) of hospitalization or treatment that you please call the Rainbow House at 402-955-7815 to be placed on the schedule. All appointments and procedures at Children’s will be confirmed through our computer system. Staying at the Rainbow House is limited to the days needed for traveling and your child’s appointment or procedure. If we are full, you will be provided with a list of local hotels that offer a hospital discount. We will try to provide accommodations at the Rainbow House as soon as something becomes available, if you are referred to a hotel.
• Do you serve meals? Do you have refrigerators in the rooms?
Community groups and individuals donate meals on occasion. There is a menu posted if meals are scheduled. If a donated meal is scheduled it is served buffet style from 6 - 8 pm. No meals are scheduled on Fridays or Saturdays. If you would like to bring your own food we provide a pantry with locked cabinets for each room that also contains a dorm size refrigerator. We want to provide the cleanest environment available for our families and patients so we ask that food and drink remain in the kitchen area and not be taken into the guest’s room or common areas.
• How do I get to the hospital if I don’t have a car?
The Rainbow House provides a shuttle at scheduled times 7 days a week. Please be sure to let staff know when you schedule your reservation that you are going to use the shuttle. You should also ask for a shuttle schedule when you arrive. Keep in mind that all children must have proper car seats to ride the shuttle. The Rainbow House does not provide children’s car seats.
• Can I take a shuttle if I bring my car?
You are welcome to use the Rainbow House shuttle to Children’s but do keep in mind it runs on a set schedule so you will need to plan accordingly. All children who are accompanying their parents on the shuttle must have their own car seat. The Rainbow House does not provide car seats. If you would like to use the shuttle, please ask for a schedule upon your arrival.
• What time do I need to check-in and is there someone available 24/7?
There is someone available 24/7 at the front desk for check-ins and any questions or concerns you may have. We prefer you check-in by 9 p.m. If you will be later than this, please tell us when you call to make your reservation so we can be sure staff is aware of your pending arrival.
• I have an appointment for my child in Omaha but it isn’t with Children’s Hospital & Medical Center or the Specialty Clinics. Can I stay at the Rainbow House?
The Carolyn Scott Rainbow House is only for those families who have a child receiving services at Children’s Hospital, including the hospital, outpatient diagnostics and the specialty clinics. . We would be more than happy to give you referrals for other lodging options, if you would like.
• Can my 13-year-old daughter watch my other children while I go to my child’s appointment at Children’s?
Due to our concern for the safety of all children staying at the Rainbow House we ask that children under 18 years of age not be left alone at any time during their stay at the Rainbow House. This includes the outside patio, playground and the Rainbow House property.
• Can I smoke at the Rainbow House?
Smoking is not allowed within the Rainbow House but a smoking area is provided outside at the east end of the building.
• Can we have visitors?
Yes, visitors are welcome, but please do remember to be respectful of other families by limiting number, noise and practicing courteous behaviors. Additionally, we have patients with compromised immune systems so please do not let anyone who is sick with an infectious illness visit. To respect all families staying at the Rainbow House, visiting hours end at 8:30 pm. For the safety of our families visitors will not be allowed to enter the Rainbow House after 8:30 pm.