For 10 years Reed House—Wishlist’s affordable accommodation facility in Nambour—has given more than 16,000 patients and families a place to stay when they need to be close to hospital.
Today the ‘house’ turns 10, marking a decade of amazing service to its community. The real heroes however, are the volunteers who give up their time to ensure everyone who stays at Reed House is made to feel welcome and at home.
Toowoomba couple, Tony and Judy Brown, have praised the facility and the kind-hearted volunteers that run it, as they enter their third week at the accommodation.
In early March, the Brown’s rushed to be with their 57-year-old daughter, Michelle James, at the sunshine Coast University Hospital, without any plan or thought about where they were going to stay once they got to her.
“Our son called us to say that Michelle had suffered a stroke following her surgery. We spent ten minutes throwing a few days’ worth of clothes in a bag before we were in the car driving to the Sunshine Coast. We didn’t have time to think about anything except getting to our daughter.
“That was more than three weeks ago. We’ve been at Shelley’s bedside every day and there is no indication of when we might be able to go home,” said Mr Brown.
Tony and Judy spent the first few nights at a hotel near the hospital but said it was far too expensive for them.
“Our son ended up paying our bill at the hotel but we weren’t sure where to go from there. Luckily, a social worker at the Hospital told us about Reed House.”
Within hours, Tony and Judy were on their way to Reed House—neither of them knowing how long they would be there for.
“We were met by the most caring, lovely people – we immediately felt like we were among family,” said Mrs Brown.
“The compassion and empathy we were shown on arrival, after what had been a very stressful few days, was just amazing. We were so grateful and couldn’t believe these wonderful people were all volunteers!
“They greet you as family. They have so much empathy and are just so caring. And they know when to ask how things are going and when to let you have your privacy. They’ve even brought their own book collections in because they know we love to read,” she said.
The elderly Toowoomba parents agreed that the facility and its volunteers had been their lifeline.
“Without Reed House, we would not be able to stay close to our daughter when she needs us most. And being able to wash our clothes and cook and generally feel at home, has made all the difference.”
The 10th anniversary of Reed House comes just one week after Member for Fisher Andrew Wallace announced $12million in funding for Wishlist towards future emergency hospital accommodation to support the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH).
Wishlist and Ausmar Homes have also commenced work on The House The Coast Built—a six-bedroom home near SCUH to help more families stay together while their loved-ones receive life-saving treatment at the Hospital.
Wishlist CEO, Lisa Rowe, said the need for affordable accommodation are only going to increase.
“As our health service grows, so too will the need for affordable accommodation. We’re thrilled to have provided accommodation to thousands of families and patients through Reed House, and we look forward to providing more accommodation resources to families from the Sunshine Coast and beyond.
“Today we celebrate Reed House and the amazing team of volunteers who make it home for everyone who needs a place to stay close to the hospital,” said Ms Rowe.
Reed House offers affordable accommodation for patients and their families, receiving ongoing or emergency treatment at SCUH, Nambour Hospital, Selengor or Genesis CancerCare.
Patients who live outside a 50km radius of public specialist medical services may also be eligible for a subsidy to assist with the costs of travel and accommodation. A night’s accommodation starts at $60 but the Patient Travel Subsidy may mean both the patient and a loved one stay at the facility, beside Nambour Hospital, at no cost.