What you should know about care and support that HospiceWits continues to provide during the Covid-19 outbreak

As the guardians of palliative care in South Africa, hospices are faced with a new and rapidly escalating challenge – how best to care for palliative patients during the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the mission of hospices – “to promote quality in life, dignity in death and support in bereavement to all persons living with a life-threatening illness by supporting the patient and their family members” – coupled with the fact that Covid-19 in critical and end-of-life stages is undisputedly a global life-threatening disease, it is incumbent on HospiceWits to support our patients and to provide appropriate and safe care and support to persons living with Covid-19, whilst safeguarding the health of hospice staff.

Palliative care is not only end-of-life care, but is an interdisciplinary team approach that improves the quality of life of patients (adults or children) and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems – physical, psychosocial and spiritual. It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not a person receives treatment directed at the disease.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has had an impact on every part of our lives. HospiceWits continues to provide end-of-life care, albeit with extra precautions to keep our patients, as well as our staff safe. If you or a family member has a life-threatening illness and is in need of hospice care, here is what you should take note of.

• The Intake Department continues to provide telephonic guidance and, where a patient fits the criteria of hospice, registration as a hospice patient.

• The same guidelines surrounding social distancing during the different phases of the national lockdown are applicable to patients receiving palliative care. A hospice patient may be more at risk of contracting Covid-19 due to the conditions they have, therefore an active Patient Care Plan that includes pain management, a symptom and an infection control plan will be put in place.

• The most effective infection control measure is to avoid persons with Covid-19. However, this may not be possible for the HospiceWits team, so every precaution has been put in place to ensure the safety of the interdisciplinary team (the doctor, homecare nurse, social worker and in-patient nursing team).

• It is recommended that if a member of the team is caring for a patient who is known to have Covid-19, then that homecare nurse should provide care to a patient telephonically, referring them through the DOH pathway for treatment.
• Advanced care planning is of particular importance, as strain on the country’s national health service is likely to increase as more coronavirus patients start requiring hospital admittance for the condition.

Rest assured that the HospiceWits staff adheres to all the guidelines set out by government to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, though, under lock down level 4 our charity shops are only permitted to sell winter stock. All fundraising events planned for the foreseeable future have been put on hold or cancelled.

Please consider donating your pre-loved winter goods (collections are permitted) and/or funds, as our work as a registered NPO is extremely dependent on support from the public and corporate spheres.

Here is where you can help.