Wishlist Foundation


Building A Lifeline for Families at Sunshine Coast University Hospital

As a parent, how would you feel if your child was admitted to hospital for lifesaving intensive care – hours away from home? We share the story of a local family who experienced the support and care Wishlist House offers.

5 min read | April 4, 2024 – 7.00am

As a parent, the mere thought of your child being airlifted to a hospital for life-saving intensive care, miles away from the comforts of home, can be a nightmare. But what if there was a place that could provide support, solace, and a home away from home during these challenging times? In this blog post, we dive into the heart warming story of Wishlist House, a haven for families whose loved ones are undergoing critical treatment at the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) within the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. We’ll share a touching video from grateful clients who have experienced the support and care Wishlist House offers.

Wishlist House: A Beacon of Hope

Wishlist House is a six-bedroom, six-bathroom double-story home located just 700 metres away from the Sunshine Coast University Hospital in Birtinya, Australia. It stands as a beacon of hope and support for families facing the unimaginable, offering emergency accommodation during their loved one’s life-saving treatment.

A Family’s Journey: Hugo’s Story

To truly understand the impact of Wishlist House, let’s hear from a family who has experienced its warmth and comfort firsthand. Hugo Barnhurst, a young boy battling a life-threatening condition known as hypochondriac disease, was admitted to the PICU, where he became dependent on a ventilator. His parents found themselves on an unexpected and emotional journey that lasted for over two months.

Hugo’s mother shared, “This is our third admission. This one’s been the longest. I think we’ve been here about 65 days now. We didn’t quite expect to be here that long.”

During their time at the hospital, Hugo’s parents were offered a room on the fourth floor, which provided some respite. Hugo’s father reflects, “In the beginning, I was driving here a lot to be with Hugo, and the staff offered us the room on the fourth floor. I stayed there for about two weeks. It was really good because sometimes I’d wake up at 3:00 in the morning and I thought, ‘I’ll just come down and see Hugo,’ and it’s just a little better. You don’t like to live without the child’s side, and with the amount of time we do spend here, it’d be wonderful just to be able to take a break from this room.”

The ability to take a break and recharge is invaluable for parents facing the physical and emotional toll of caring for a critically ill child.

Supporting Families at Their Weakest Moments

The PICU at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital often receives patients from around the state. These patients’ parents are given little notice and are forced to leave their support systems behind. They arrive at the hospital in a state of exhaustion and distress, having gone through a highly emotional day.

According to medical staff, parents play a crucial role in their child’s recovery. When parents are calm, children tend to be more at ease. However, parents arriving at the hospital are often extremely exhausted and distressed themselves.

Wishlist House fills a critical gap by providing a comfortable and supportive environment for these parents. While their child is resting, parents can finally rest as well. This respite is essential because, as the saying goes, “Happy parent, happy child.” Ensuring parents are well-rested and supported during this challenging time is of paramount importance.

A Home for Families in Need

Moreover, Wishlist House understands that these families often come with more than one child in tow. Finding appropriate accommodation for the entire family can be a daunting task, especially for those who don’t live within the immediate vicinity of the hospital. About a third of the patients at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital come from outside the Sunshine Coast area.

Wishlist House aims to be the answer to this problem. It provides a welcoming space for parents and siblings, ensuring that the entire family has a place to stay during their loved one’s treatment. This vital support is a lifeline for families during their most challenging moments.

The Power of Community Driven Initiatives

Wishlist House stands as a testament to the power of community and compassion. It provides solace, support, and a home away from home for families facing unimaginable challenges. Hugo’s story is just one of many that showcases the profound impact this facility has on the lives of those in need.

The Sunshine Coast community can take pride in Wishlist House, the house that the coast built. It’s a place where hope thrives, where families find respite, and where children can heal with their loved ones close by. 

Wishlist House is a shining example of what can be achieved when people come together to support those facing the most challenging times of their lives.


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