About Us

Our story and Inspiration

The Children’s Hospice Association (INC) trading as Hannah’s House, was founded by Martin Watson and Jacky Vigurs, parents of Hannah Watson, who was born with a rare syndrome called Opitz Trigonocephaly. Only about 70 cases have ever been reported in the world’s medical literature.

Hannah was not expected to live beyond her first birthday. Her condition caused profound intellectual and physical disabilities that resulted in her requiring constant care and monitoring. Hannah sadly passed away in 2010 aged 19 years, with Jacky and Martin managing her lifelong care at home.

Families like Hannah’s are often overwhelmed by the ongoing physical, emotional and financial challenges of nursing a child 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Having a child with complex needs can lead to fatigue, social isolation, poor mental health and loss of wellbeing for parents and other siblings.

Founded in Hannah’s memory, ‘Hannah’s House’ supports children aged from birth to 18 years diagnosed with life-limiting conditions and complex needs and their families. We provide support from diagnosis to recovery; or through palliative care to bereavement and beyond.

Our focus is on quality of life for the child and support for the whole family.

Our services include in-home respite, palliative care and end-of-life support, assistance with daily living, help to transition children home from hospital following diagnosis and complementary supports such as play therapy and education. Our programs are flexible and always tailored to meet the needs and goals of each family.

Alongside our in-home and community services, we have long advocated for the building of a dedicated children’s hospice to in Western Australia to provide families with a choice of care options within a holistic paediatric palliative care framework. We welcome the announcement made by WA Health Minister Roger Cook in August 2020 that a children’s hospice will be built in WA by 2023 in partnership with Perth Children’s Hospital Foundation (PCHF) and the Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS). Our News and Events page has the latest updates.

Our Inspiration

Hannah’s House has been inspired by Hannah Watson who was born in 1991 and passed away in 2010. Hannah had a rare syndrome called Opitz Trigonocephaly. She had profound intellectual and physical disabilities as well as chronic and complex medical conditions. She found it difficult to swallow, move, vocalise or display emotions, and had to be fed through a gastronomy button. Hannah required 24-hour nursing care including hourly feeding, oxygen therapy, and management of distress and agitation.

In 1996 the Watson family left Perth for a four month visit to the UK. During this period Hannah’s parents, Jacky and Martin, were introduced to Francis House, just outside Manchester, which cared for children with life-limiting illnesses like Hannah’s. Jacky and Martin had no idea what to expect from Francis House but were overwhelmed by the warm welcome they received and the competence of staff caring for Hannah. There was a great sense of community where the relentless care of a dependent or sick child could be shared and friendship and support offered in a practical way. It was, in every sense, a home away from home.

Their experience at Francis House inspired them to work towards building a facility here in WA to help parents in similar situations. A welcoming centre that would be fun and engaging for the child and also allow parents to feel secure in the knowledge that their child was being well cared for whilst they took a break. This opportunity to relax helps inspire and rejuvenate families, giving them the energy they need to continue with the full-time care of their child or children.

Read Hannah’s Story

Hannah arrived just before midnight on the 11th November 1991. She was our first child and we had no reason to think that there would be any problems. It was immediately obvious that something was wrong when she needed resuscitation. Having a seriously ill child was completely unexpected and for which we were totally unprepared. Prior to this, we had had very little to do with hospitals and so, for the first few years, we were on a steep learning curve trying to find out about her condition so that she could have the best possible life. During the first few months, it became clear that it would be impossible

Read More »

Read Hannah’s Story

Hannah arrived just before midnight on the 11th November 1991. She was our first child and we had no reason to think that there would be any problems. It was immediately obvious that something was wrong when she needed resuscitation. Having a seriously ill child was completely unexpected and for which we were totally unprepared. Prior to this, we had had very little to do with hospitals and so, for the first few years, we were on a steep learning curve trying to find out about her condition so that she could have the best possible life. During the first few months, it became clear that it would be impossible

Read More »

Charitable Status

The Children’s Hospice Association (INC) trading as Hannah’s House is a Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) and registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). We have Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status meaning all donations made to Hannah’s House of $2 and over are tax deductible.

Hannah’s House is an accredited and registered disability services provider through the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Registered NDIS Provider

Children's Hospice Association INC is a registered charity trading as Hannah's House

Want to find out more? Please give us a call.

Talk to us on 08 6319 2850 or send us a message.