April 20, 2022

Our response to COVID-19

As Western Australia has faced a huge spike in the number of positive cases of COVID-19 throughout 2022, Hannah’s House has been working tirelessly to keep the children we care for, their families and our staff safe and cared for throughout the peak of the pandemic. 

From the very beginning of 2022, we got straight onto ordering more than $30,000 worth of Personal Protective Equipment, which we arranged into individual PPE Kits and distributed to all our care staff. These kits include N95 and Surgical Masks, Face Shields, Face Goggles, Gowns, Gloves, Hand Sanitiser and more.  

Our CEO Jonine spent considerable time and effort contacting government offices to determine whether PPE would be provided to the healthcare and disability sectors, but without knowing whether this path would be open to us, Hannah’s House wasted no time. We wanted to be proactive in ensuring every staff member had the highest standard of protective equipment BEFORE it was needed. 

Unfortunately, the funds spent securing PPE are unable to be claimed and have to be absorbed by Hannah’s House. However, our Board and Management agreed we wanted best-practice infection controls available to all staff to protect the highly vulnerable children in our care. 

As soon as WA infections started to rise, Hannah’s House implemented mandatory use of N95 masks with all children who have open airways and soon after moved to mandatory N95 masks for all staff on all shifts. This provides a high level of protection to staff and also to the child in their care. 

As part of our COVID-19 safety precautions, Hannah’s House purchased 500 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) while also pursuing supplies through other channels. Thanks to our Board Treasurer Romola Haggerty, we were thrilled to secure a generous donation of RAT kits from WA mining company Roy Hill mid-March. 

With this additional supply of RAT kits means our staff can self-test prior to every shift, giving staff and families can feel confidence that even if staff are not symptomatic, they are testing to be sure they don’t unknowingly go to work while testing positive for COVID-19. This is proving invaluable in delivering continuity of safe in-home care. 

Our senior management team has been meeting every weekday for COVID-19 briefings to stay up to date with the ever-changing information being released. The information gathered in these meetings (and more) has been shared with our staff and families through regular email newsletters, WhatsApp and private Staff and Family Facebook groups posts. 

Our popular Playtime Program, which usually offers fortnightly playgroups and excursions, has sadly had to ‘pivot’ to allow are children and families to access play therapy in a COVID-safe way. We’ve launched a new Playdate program, in which our Play Specialist Sue offers families one-on-one Playdates indoors or outdoors, as well as double dates with a friend! 

With the support of WA Charity Direct and some kind donations from Cystic Fibrosis WA, we have amassed a huge collection of sensory games and toys for Sue to share during Playdates. Sue’s playdates are a big hit, and we look forward to helping make the school holidays a lot more fun with free play sessions for children and their siblings at home or at a local park. 

We’re all looking forward to a time where it is safe to bring our Playgroups and excursions back, but we are excited to be able to offer an alternative option to keep playing and bringing joy to our kids. 

Our entire Playtime Program is offered free of charge to all our children and families thanks to the amazing support of Channel 7 Telethon and WA Charity Direct. 

As we journey through this pandemic, our priority remains keeping the vulnerable children in our care, their families and our staff safe and well.  

Big thank you to our staff and families for working with us to keep our services and programs running in a manner that looks out for everyone’s safety. We understand these times are particularly challenging and frightening and we truly appreciate how you’re all working together with care, compassion and trust. 

We want to extend a huge thanks to Serge and the team at Surgical House who have gone above and beyond to help us secure PPE when stocks were short.