Four-year-old Angel, from Beerwah, is a regular visitor to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital Children’s ward. In 2018, she was admitted more than 15 times.
She was born blind, autistic and suffers ongoing bowel issues. But it doesn’t stop her smiling.
The happy little girl was admitted to the Children’s Intensive Care Unit late last year, leaving her Grandmother, Anna, worried and unable to return to their home in Beerwah.
“I would never go too far from the Hospital, so returning home to sleep while Angel was in the ICU was not an option.
“When I left for the hospital, this time, I packed a pillow and blanket and planned to sleep in my car in the hospital car park. That way, I’d only be a few minutes away from Angel.
“The Unit Manager asked what my plans were for the night. I told her I was going to sleep in my car. She said no.
Instead, Anna was shown to the Parents Retreat on the Children’s Ward – an apartment-style area within the ward that allows families to get some sleep in a comfortable space.
“The Parents Retreat was a godsend. It has a kitchenette, comfortable double beds, lounge area, television and a laundry. Proper sleep and clean clothes can make a huge difference during a tough time,” said Anna.
Fortunately, Anna accepted the offer of a night in the Parents Retreat.
“I got a call very late at night that Angel had woken and was distressed. Thanks to the accommodation facility, I was just a few minutes away and could help her very quickly,” Anna said.
Wishlist funded the fit out of two Parents’ Retreats located in the neonatal and children’s wards, thanks to funds raised at the 2015 Wishlist Spring Carnival.
Last year, the Spring Carnival raised funds to help build The House The Coast Built – an affordable accommodation facility within walking distance to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital for families with loved-ones undergoing treatment.
Wishlist CEO, Lisa Rowe, said Anna and Angel’s story is a common one.
“These rooms provide the most ideal environment for families to relax and retreat from the clinical environment of the children’s ward while still being in close to their bed-bound child. However, we know that there is need for more accommodation like this.
“Construction on the house began 5 February thanks to the generous Sunshine Coast community.
“As well as money raised from the 2018 92.7 MIXFM’s Give Me 5 For Kids campaign and the Wishlist Spring Carnival, we’ve had more than 30 local businesses’ put their hand up to donate time and services to help Ausmar Homes build a home away from home for families doing it tough.
“Once complete, the home will feature six bedroom and bathroom and be designed to accommodate as many families as possible.
“Our goal is to keep families, like Anna and Angel, together at a time when family love and support is needed most,” Ms Rowe Said.
In the first 12 months of opening, the Sunshine Coast University Hospital treated 1089 paediatric patients who lived more than 50km from the hospital.
Another 340 mums who lived outside our region were transported to our state-of-the-art maternity unit to deliver their babies – often pre-term.
In 2018, the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit alone treated over 40 children from outside the Sunshine Coast region, many from Central Queensland. Another 42 were treated from area around Gympie, Noosa and Melany.
To help, head to thehousethecoastbuilt.org and purchase a house-hold item for the home, or visit https://www.giving.wishlist.org.au/donate and select “The Hose The Coast Built” from the drop-down menu.