November 15, 2020

Chair Report on Operations – Financial Year 2020

Executive Summary

Like the community at large, Hannah’s House faced a year of two very different halves. Even with the highly unusual operating challenges raised by COVID-19, 2019-20 continued to be another a year of significant growth for the organisation.

We recorded an almost doubling of service hours, introduced new programs and increased staffing in both our corporate and clinical teams.

When news of COVID-19 broke, there was much uncertainty for our families and referral partners. Families had to consider whether they were comfortable continuing with in-home care.  Both families and staff had to become comfortable with a very different health environment, e.g personal protection equipment and infection control.

Hannah’s House, however, continued to receive new referrals throughout April-June as hospitals sought to discharge patients, and families trusted us to provide safe care. Despite lockdown restrictions, we continued to onboard new families and new staff and increased service delivery.

Overall, our in-home service hours increased from 18,710 hours in FY19 to 36,820 hours in FY20.

Demand for support peaked in May, with 4,608 hours of in-home care being delivered compared with a monthly average of 3,361 hours during the prior six months.

The number of children and families supported during the year also increased from 59 in FY19 to 70 in FY20. The youngest child to receive support was just 6 weeks old, while the oldest child referred was 14 years.



During this challenging period, we were able to introduce of our new ‘Playtime Play Program’ and increase the number of social inclusion activities for families and parents. Through Playtime we are now providing individualised play therapy plans for parents and our care workers to support to the child’s age-related goals and encourage development of the child’s communication and motor skills.

Supporting families from a holistic perspective remains a key focus for Hannah’s House. We are always looking for ways to provide meaningful opportunities to support ‘body, mind and spirit’. This led to the formation of our first Family Reference Group (FRG) in February to help ensure our service and supports remain family-centred and meet the needs of children with life-limiting conditions and complex needs.

The growth in our service hours and expanded programs necessitated a significant increase in resources both within our corporate office and our clinical pool of nurses and support workers.

Our workforce rose from 32 staff in June 2019 to 72 staff in June 2020.

Continuing to raise our profile and attract new donors is key priority of our fundraising and marketing activities. During the year we were pleased to again be supported by the Channel 7 Telethon Trust and to welcome The Stan Perron Charitable Foundation as a valued new supporter.

A big thank you also to our corporate and clinical teams who lead with great compassion and enthusiasm and to our amazing team of registered nurses and support workers who make a difference everyday bringing care, comfort and joy to the children and families we serve.

I would also like to extend my deepest thanks and gratitude to my fellow Board members. Your passion, selfless giving of your time, and ability to bring your best thinking to each and every Board meeting is powerful, and humbling. The past few months have demanded a lot of all of us both personally and professionally as we navigate ourselves and our loved ones through a very different world, and against that backdrop this Board operated as sound and empathetic stewards of Hannah’s House, which is our purpose and values in action. The next two years will define the next 10, your focus and commitment to serve the present and future families of Hannah’s House is what will make us successful in our mission.

I am pleased to be able to share the following highlights of another wonderful year in the journey of Hannah’s House; providing care, comfort and joy for children with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Operational Highlights 2019 -2020

Clinical Services

Demand for in-home care and support has continued to grow at pace throughout the reporting period.

This is reflected in the almost doubling of our Service Hours over the 12-month period from 18,710 in FY19 to 36,820 hours in FY20.

A record number of 70 children and families were supported during the year with the youngest child referred at 6 weeks and the oldest referral being a child of 14 years.

Demand for support peaked in May, with 4,608 hours of in-home care being delivered compared with a monthly average of 3,361 hours during the prior six months.

A key area of growth for Hannah’s House has been in our fee-for-service hours. This has been driven largely by the increasing number of children who now have funding through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Eligible children with complex needs are often provided with significant packages and this has allowed families to secure a greater number of hours than in the early years of the scheme.

Another area of has been in the provision of contracted services to the Child and Adolescent Health Service (CAHS). Hannah’s House was awarded funded contracts to help transition nine children with complex care needs from Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) into their own homes during the reporting period. This is often provided to help the family take their child home for the first time, supporting them to establish a care routine and develop competency and confidence in the child’s ongoing care needs.

Over 5800 care hours were delivered to these children and families during their contracted periods, with the majority continuing in our care once a NDIS Plan became available.

While NDIS is now providing families with much-needed funding to access disability supports, there remains a significant gap. Families cannot access the NDIS while they are waiting for a clear diagnosis, undertaking treatments or when their child is newly diagnosed and they are transitioning home for the first time. Wait times for new NDIS Plans can also leave families stranded for months without access support.

A distinguishing criterion of the children we support is the presence of a progressive or life-limiting condition that causes complex care needs or necessitates palliative support. There is a widely acknowledged shortage of respite services for this cohort of children. This has been further exacerbated by the closure in April 2020 of the State’s largest and oldest out-of-home respite centre ‘Lady Lawley Cottage’ managed by the Red Cross.

Hannah’s House plays an important role in helping maintain quality of life for seriously ill children at times when no other funding is available.

Response to Covid-19

During the peak of COVID-19 restrictions in WA between April and June, Hannah’s House was able to remain fully operational and provided continuity of care to all children and families who wanted to retain in-home care.

Like many organisations, we had to learn to adapt quickly to an uncertain and very different operating environment. Our administration and clinical staff went ‘virtual’, with all office staff working from home. We soon became experts on ZOOM and set up a COVID-19 Crisis Management Team that met daily to remain on top of developments and restrictions, and to ensure staff and families were being communicated within a timely manner.

Almost all business activities went online. This included new staff recruitment and inductions, ongoing professional development for existing staff training, daily clinical team meetings, management meetings and board meetings

There was a substantive increase in focus and training on infection prevention and control and hygiene protocols to safeguard staff and families against the possible spread of Coronavirus. All government directives on how to stop the spread of the virus while delivering an essential service were implemented with staff and families through extensive online learning and regular e-news updates.


Supporting families from a holistic perspective remains a key focus for Hannah’s House. We are always looking for ways to provide meaningful opportunities to support ‘body, mind and spirit’. This led to the formation of our first Family Reference Group (FRG) in February.

The FRG was established to help ensure our service and supports remain family-centred and meet the needs of children with life-limiting conditions and complex needs and their parents/ carers. It is also providing a consultation forum for reviewing documents, discussing new services and supports, developing events and outings and to provide recommendations to help Hannah’s House continuously improve our programs.

During the last 12 months we have experienced some wonderful events with our families. In October 2019 we had a family fun day at Adventure World for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, with Adventure World kindly donating free park entry.

In December, we teamed up with Perth Zoo for a very special Christmas Party. Children including siblings enjoyed a special visit from Santa with every child receiving a gift from the Perth Zoo shop. This event was kindly supported through donations from generous corporate supporters Technical Resources and AlignAlytics.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 restrictions impacted events planned for the first half of 2020. We are looking forward to implementing new parent-only social events during the coming months.




Playtime Playgroup

As an added support to children and families we introduced our new Playtime Play Program at the start of 2020. Play Plans provide parents and carers with a range of age-appropriate activities to suit the child’s likes, interests and abilities and encourage development of the child’s communication and motor skills.

Through the delivery of our Playtime Play Program, we aim to enhance quality of life for the child and support families by:

  • Demonstrating to parents and carers how they can more fully engage their child using simple, everyday (low cost) objects that will build their child’s sensory awareness.
  • Helping build the child’s mobility, communication skills and progress towards developmental milestones.
  • Improving cognitive growth and encouraging children to develop motor skills to carry out day to day tasks.
  • Providing social opportunities for children to engage with peers and for parents to network with each other in a safe, supported environment.
  • Identifying activities to help calm the child when anxious or soothe during times of distress.

Playtime has proved very popular, with a waitlist of clients seeking a Play Plan to be developed for their child. The program is offered free of charge to all families and will be the focus of fundraising and grant opportunities in coming years to enable us to expand the hours needed to meet demand.



Marketing & Fundraising

We continue to be indebted to the Channel 7 Telethon Trust for maintaining their belief in our work and providing recurrent funding for 2020. Combined Telethon 2019 and 2020 funding allowed us to support 29 children and their families during the reporting period.

Children who were beneficiates of Telethon funding also received an individualised play plan, designed to support their development goals.

Attracting further philanthropic and corporate support is always vital to meet the needs of those families who are ineligible for, or are still waiting, for NDIS funding. In December we were pleased to receive a new two-year grant from The Stan Perron Charitable Foundation. Coupled with Telethon this will allow us to continue to meet the needs of children for in-home respite and other services.

We also held our first festive raffle in November/ December with a Thermomix TM6 donated by Thermomix in Australia and other prizes donated by Magnetic People and Hampers by Design. Over $5000 was raised and we will seek to continue this annually as opportunity to promote awareness of Hannah’s House and raise funds for our supplementary services provided free to families.

Despite COVID-19 we pressed on with HBF Run for a Reason in late May. We were thrilled to have over 12 participants join in and create their own walk. Special thanks to the lovely Emily who is just 7 years old and has cerebral palsy. Family and friends joined Emily on her walk around her block – 6 times – and she raised $1500 for Hannah’s House. Emily wanted to walk in honour of her 4-year-old friend Scarlett, who has been a client with Hannah’s House since 2018. Read more about Emily’s walk here.

During the year we continued to expand our reach on social media including adding Instagram and LinkedIn channels to our communications. At the time of writing, we are working on a new website platform that will allow us to better share our stories and increase our engagement with families and potential donors.

We would like to thank and acknowledge our generous suppliers including Shakespeare Partners, Omnis Group and King & Wood Mallesons for pro bono support provided through the year.

Hannah’s House Staff

This year, Hannah’s House worked closely with Magnetic People who provided Human Resources support throughout the second half of the year. In addition, a People and Culture sub-committee was formed to oversee the People and Culture governance of Hannah’s House. We welcomed two wonderful volunteers- Elaine Meighan (HBF) and Tanya Pavez (Magnetic People)- to this sub-committee which provided guidance and expertise to the People and Culture function within Hannah’s House.

This year, we saw our staff numbers continue to grow in response to demand for services. Our staff numbers increased from 32 staff in July 2019 to 72 staff in June 2020.








Focus Areas for 2020- 2021

During the coming year, some of our key focus areas will include:

  • Recruitment of our inaugural Chief Executive Officer and reviewing our Workforce Development Plan to ensure we have the right structures and staffing to sustain operations and support ongoing growth.
  • Continuing to strengthen and improve our Clinical Governance framework.
  • Continuing to grow our in-home care and support to be responsive to community needs.
  • Extending our scope and reach by expanding our services e.g. Bereavement counselling and respite and geographic coverage e.g. regional and country.
  • Increasing the reach and impact of our Playtime Play Program by introducing Playtime Groups for children, their siblings, parents and carers.

Finally, thank you to the families who have entrusted Hannah’s House with the care of their children. We are committed to delivering care that supports quality of life for children with life-limiting conditions and is of comfort to the whole family.


Anne McCormack, Board Chair
09 November 2020



In Memorial

During the last 12 months we acknowledge and honour
the passing of the following short and precious lives:

Ziya – passed away 26 September 2019 aged 18 months

Happy – passed away 8 April 2020 aged 13 years

Liam – passed away 12 May 2020 aged 8 years


Download a copy of the Chair Report here.