Offering high quality respite care and support to children with special needs and life-limiting conditions, Iris House Children’s Hospice is a safe sanctuary for families.
For families with children affected by life-threatening conditions, Iris House Children’s Hospice is a sanctuary — providing care and support during very difficult times.
Iris House was formed in June 2011 and to date, has more than six hundred children in its care across 48 Western Cape communities. Its mission: To provide holistic, loving, professional, free community and Hospice-based respite care, along with end-of-life care for special needs children and young adults with life-threatening/life-limiting conditions.
Offering a range of therapies and support for the entire family, parents benefit from the creation of employment opportunities. Care teams, parents, foster and safety parents received the best training to help improve the quality of every child’s life.
Free respite care day sessions are offered several times a week with a nurse and 1-1 caregiver for each of the six children, with educational games, outdoor play, and equine therapy.
Community based sits
Giving moms or dads a break to get things done, community carers offer support by caring for children in their own homes for four hours. Every community carer goes through rigorous training and is briefed on every child they care for. During home visits, social workers also deliver care packages to the families so they can have something to eat and make sure that everything is still fine with the child and the family.
Mothers support group
Caring for children in such need can place incredible emotional strain on families. Through support groups, Iris House brings parents together to share their experiences — from different communities — with advice from a nurse.
Foster and safety parents training
In 2020, Iris House became a child protection organisation. By offering free and certified foster care and safety parents training, parents can provide the best care to special needs children.
Adult protective workshop
Iris House also gives young autistic, high-functioning adults the opportunity to work at its in-house doggy day care. When registered, young people gain important skills in learning how to care for puppies and dogs, a boost in self-confidence and a stipend for their hard work.
Msingathi is one such achiever who is also helping clean the grounds of Iris House.
During the summer, children and young adults get a chance to take part in a surfing program at Hout Bay, Strand and the West Coast. Adaptive surfing coaches (and a surf dog) have been offering this incredible therapy for three years.
Funding such programs, the Iris House team depends on government funding and many events to raise much-needed donations to continue to offer free quality respite care. Run for a Child, a market day, a charity ‘Purple Ball’ auction event and high tea events all help to support this valuable cause.