Homecare sister goes the extra mile to help each patient

Sister Yolanda Tomlinson describes herself as an energiser-bunny caregiver who feels happiest when she sees others feeling comfortable.

Tomlinson works as a homecare sister at Hospice Wits Houghton, serving between 20 and 30 patients and their families in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg at any one time.

“It’s not a job. It is a calling. Palliative care is a very emotional, difficult job with people in the terminal stages of life. My job is to care for both the patient and their family. It requires a lot of patience and good listening skills,” said Tomlinson.

“Patients, most of whom are struggling with cancer, are in a lot of pain and families are often in denial and will not accept the diagnosis. My job is to get everyone on the same page and walk them through the final journey.

“It is so fulfilling to show people that they are not alone and there is someone that they can turn to.”

Tomlinson trained and worked as a nurse early in life and left the profession to pursue a career in the commercial world for a number of years.

“I always saw myself as a caregiver and knew the timing was right to return to nursing. My job requires a wealth of life experience and people skills, which helps me to face everyday challenges.”

She began working for HospiceWits in 2019 and has never looked back.

“The gratitude you get from families is so incredible. To see the stress fall off their faces and allay their fears is very fulfilling.”

Tomlinson describes her car as her office as she drives from patient to patient, picks up medicines and attends to calls.

“It sometimes becomes a juggling act when you have to see up to eight patients a day. I need to hold myself together and always give 100 per cent. The person who sees you at 8am and the person who sees you at 5pm must get the same you.”

With the exhaustion and emotional pressure of the job, Tomlinson said it was very important to look after herself, take time off, go for counselling and ensure that she was healthy, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I must ensure that I don’t have any symptoms of Covid-19 in order to protect my patients.”

HospiceWits CEO Jacqui Kaye described Tomlinson as a sister who provided quality nursing care to each patient.

“Yolanda is passionate about every patient and goes the extra mile to care and offer support.”

Published by the Rosebank Killarney Gazette, you can read the article here.