Hannah’s House born from parents’ vision


Susan King from Hannah’s House (left) with Rebecca Vittiglia-Collins and her son Marc.
Susan King from Hannah’s House (left) with Rebecca Vittiglia-Collins and her son Marc.

HANNAH’S House in Cannington was the vision of Martin Watson and Jacky Vigurs, whose daughter Hannah was born with a congenital disorder and was not expected to survive beyond her first birthday.

Hannah died in 2010 at age 19. Martin and Jacky cared for her all her life.

The couple’s goal was to help others going through a similar experience.

Hannah’s House was established in 2014 to provide in-home help to families caring for a child with life-limiting conditions and complex medial needs.

Clinical services manager Susan King said the not-for-profit organisation provided in-home respite care by a team of registered nurses.

“Our aim is to help keep children out of hospital and in the comfort and familiarity of their own home,” she said.

Last week St George Foundation made a much-needed donation of $46,600 to Hannah’s House.

St George Foundation acting head Tara Beath said the service was chosen to bridge a widely recognised gap in children’s palliative care.

“These children and their families deserve a nurturing environment that allows children to be cared for at home and that is exactly what Hannah’s House is providing,” she said.

She said the service was run by experienced registered nurses who tailored their respite and palliative services to the needs of individual families.

This included transitioning between home and hospital, education on the safe use of medical equipment and medication, as well as planned day or overnight respite to families.

Hannah’s House presently cares for nine Perth families, including the Collins family in Morley.

Mrs King said although a child might receive a life-limiting diagnosis, their journey could span weeks, months or even years.

“In most cases, the families we support fall between the cracks and are unable to access the funding or support they desperately require,” she said.

She said for families with a child diagnosed with a life-limiting condition, the ongoing challenges they faced were often overwhelming.

“They struggle to cope with the day-to-day realities of caring for a very sick child at home,” she said.

“Parents are expected to learn to do things for their child that only a registered nurse or clinically trained professional would do normally. The imperative of caring for these children for many years is all consuming and can be socially and emotionally isolating for the child, their parents and siblings.”

She said Hannah’s House was funded through donations and was currently raising funds.

Donations can be made to www.hannahshouse.org.au or call Mrs King on 0413 372 943.