Ricochet News

Hospice Week: 1st – 7th May 2017: Death Not Age Selective

May 3, 2017
Hospice Week: 1st – 7th May 2017: Death Not Age Selective

Of the total 1,152,115 people living in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropole, some 422 000 (36.6%) are unemployed. The youth make up 47.3% of this figure, meaning that nearly 200 000 living in the Bay have no jobs.

Another high statistic is the large number of terminally ill youths that are in the care of St Francis Hospice.

Hospice looks after an average of 5000 terminally ill patients every year, 1418 (or 25%) of whom are between 18-35 years of age. The second highest age group, between 46 – 60, comprises 1184 patients. Hospice provides home-based palliative care to patients in the terminal phase of Cancer, HIV/AIDS, TB and Motor Neurone Disease.

The tragedy is that the youth group is supposed to be the next generation of breadwinners for their families and should be in the wealth creation stages of their lives. Unfortunately many Hospice patients leave behind a legacy of debt and displacement as they are unable to work and care for their children.

Hospice has been around since 1986 and was started by a passionate young Sister Lesley Lawson, who now serves as the Chairperson of the Board of Governors, and Sr Anna Carey.

Hospice has caring & dedicated qualified nurses and social workers that visit patients &  families in their own homes; providing them with much needed medication, love, support and counselling.

One patient, Josephine Namutebi (37), has been looked after by Hospice since October 2015.

“I started getting severe pain in my bones in 2015 and the doctors could not find out what was wrong with me. The pain would not go away and eventually my employee sent me to see his private doctor,” she said.

The doctor discovered a lump in her breast and, upon further investigation, it was found that the cancer has spread to her bones. It was too late to remove the lump and the doctor advised her to go for radiation.

“I felt much better after radiation and I returned to work, but 6 months later I was in severe pain again and I could not go back to work. I was very sad in the beginning as I struggled to even make lunch for my little boy, who is now 9 years old. Instead of me looking after him, he is now looking after me. I must say that I am very blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. Everyone is so positive and encourage me to appreciate every day as a gift. I believe that God will cure me. I see miracles around me every day, why can’t I be one of his miracles?” she said.

Sister Janice Malkinson, who has been assigned to Josephine since 2015, said she is still amazed at her brave spirit and how she defies her illness.

“I see Josephine 2-3 times a week to change her dressings and bring her medicine and vitamins from the Livingstone Oncology Department. We believe in a multi-disciplinary team approach and together making a positive difference in the lives of our patients. We first look to ensure they are comfortable and pain free, then we look at their emotional state, their spiritual needs and how well the family is coping now and will manage once the patient passes on. It really is a holistic service that we offer to provide our patients with the best quality of life until they die,” Sister Janice said.

Hospice Social Auxiliary Worker, Bukelwa Matabese, played a pivotal part in securing the financial wellbeing of Josephine.

“When I met her in 2015, I realised that she received no financial support from government as she was born in Uganda. I immediately made arrangements for her to receive a disability grant, child support and grant-in- aid. Josephine has a wonderful sister who makes sure that her son goes to a good school and assists her where possible,” she said.

Josephine is still fighting the good fight and doesn’t believe in giving up.

How can Hospice help YOU?

Hospice provides palliative care to terminally ill patients suffering from Cancer, HIV/AIDS, TB and Motor Neurone Disease.

Once you have reached the stage where you need care, you can request a referral letter from your doctor or clinic to submit a referral to Hospice. Once received, a nurse will visit to assess your needs and admit you as a patient. You will then be visited as often as your condition demands providing clinical, psychosocial & spiritual support to make your life as comfortable as possible. Family members will be counselled to make sure they understand the procedure and prepare them for the emotional trauma of losing a loved one.

How can YOU help Hospice?

The public is encouraged to donate and companies to grant from their annual CSI budgets to assist Hospice to sustain the vital community service it has been providing for thirty years.

Volunteers are sought to help with the many fundraising events hosted every year. Some of the events planned for this year are:

-          Superhero Calendar. Everyone who signs up to become a Hospice Hero, from as little as R50 a month, will receive a calendar and stand the chance of winning beautiful Jenni Gault jewellery.

-          3-4 May: Volunteers in Superhero gear, standing with tins at intersections collecting for Hospice

-          20 – 21 May: Last Night at the Proms concerts (Feather Market Centre)

-          28 – 29 June: Business Expo Construction Summit (Father’s House building). St Francis Hospice will receive 5% of the profits raised. A Hospice Hero recruitment stand will be in situ.

-          18 July: Garden of Remembrance

-          9 September: Ladies’ High Tea

-          2 November: Nelson Mandela Variety Concert – Year end functions

-          1 December -: Tree of Lights mail appeal

-          24 February 2018: Carnival

-          Throughout the Year:

Training Centre for hire, Hospice Hero Campaign, Coppers for Hospice, Hospice Shoppes, donate in lieu of birthday presents, Pay As You Earn donations by business employees.

Become a Hospice Hero from as little as R50 a month via debit order or EFT. Email kerry@stfrancishospice.za.org or phone: 041-360 7070 for more information.

“You matter because you are. You matter until the very last moment of your life, and we will do all we can to help you – not only to die peacefully, but to live until you die.” - Dame Cecily Saunders – Founder of the modern hospice movement.

 

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