Archive: April 16, 2021

DEDICATION TO MR ALAN LOOMES

Mr Alan Loomes was first introduced to HospiceWits in 1999 through our Architect Nicholas Whitcutt to launch the construction of our training centre at Mofolo Clinic complex in Soweto.

The project was sponsored by funds generously donated by the Japanese Government and complimented the containers that housed at least 15 patients.  

The complex of two lecture rooms and administration offices were built by Alan and his teams, and many students have since benefitted from our Hospice Palliative care program, and our current Anciliary training courses.

Alan was invited to join the HospiceWits Board of Trustees in 2004, during which time he spent some two years prospecting for a suitable site for a Hospice Flagship Clinic, which was finally found in Diepkloof, Soweto. Together with the Hospice Team of Carers, a tender was submitted to the Johannesburg Property Company, and was duly accepted.

Together with the late Hymie Moross, Architect, the Diepkloof Hospice was built with the help of the donations from the National Lottery Board, many local institutions/organisations and International Governments.

HospiceWits in Soweto officially opened its doors in March 2007, consisting of a Paediatric IPU, a Male/Female Adult IPU and offering Homecare nursing to patients in the comfort of their own homes.

A highlight of Alan’s time with HospiceWits was when he hosted a royal visit from Her Highness, Princess Caroline of Monaco, who supports international institutions where children are a strong inclusion.

All of this would not have happened without the teamwork and support from the Hospice staff at that time, represented by Barbara Campbell-Ker, the Executive Director.

In the last number of years, Alan was enticed back by the current CEO, Jacqui Kaye, to offer his time, skills and experience in assisting HospiceWits to source potential tenants for our Soweto site, advising on cost saving initiatives, being in contact with the Johannesburg Property Company to ensure compliance and maintaining good working relationships, and engaging on our behalf with small businesses in the Soweto community. Alan was instrumental in securing and negotiating with BGM Renal Care to lease a portion of the Diepkloof site out as a Renal Dialysis Clinic. His untimely death means that Alan will not be able to stand tall and proud when the clinic is launched. His absence will be felt and his major contribution will be shared and appreciated.

HospiceWits had the honour of partnering with a hardworking, trustworthy, passionate and reliable person in Mr Alan Loomes, and we deeply mourn his loss. He always arrived with a smile, entertained with humour, and left having touched our lives in a positive way.

Our condolences to Merle and his family at this time, as well as to his partners and colleagues, who will continue to uphold his legacy.

  It was with deep regret that I received your note informing us of the sad passing of Alan Loomes. May his dear soul R.I.P and I would appreciate you conveying to his wife, Merle in Knysna, my deepest sympathies and the wish that his dear soul rests in peace.   Alan did so much for HospiceWits. May this be a blessing for his soul and for his heart- broken family he has left behind.   He will always be remembered and I think it would be a fitting tribute to his memory that Alan and what he did for HospiceWits is never forgotten.   Michael Judin
  Alan’s work and his passion for HospiceWits was by no means concluded. His warm smile and his jovial personality will be remembered with fondness. He is already sorely missed by me and all at HospiceWits.   Jacqui Kaye : CEO
Board Members:   Our heartfelt condolences to the Loomes family and the hospice family- indeed a sad loss to all.                                                                              Esme Pudule   Condolences to all affected by this sad news.           Hiten Keshave   My sincere condolences to Merle – very sad news indeed.      Dr Brad Beira

How older people can stay healthy as winter approaches

The pandemic has drawn our attention to the importance of staying healthy through the winter months – and this is especially true for people who are older, or those who are suffering from life-limiting illnesses.

This winter, the focus will not only fall on preventing the flu, as is normally the case this time of year, but with the need to take additional measures to also protect ourselves against COVID-19.

The following are a few suggestions to help keep you and your loved ones healthy and safe this winter:

  1. Stay warm

Older people don’t have the same ability to tolerate fluctuating temperatures as they did when they were younger, and need something extra to stay warm. In this regard, caretakers and family members will find that a few layers of clothing instead of a single chunky layer is more efficient, along with an extra blanket or two on the bed and on the chair.

If you’re using hot water bottles or an electric blanket in bed, take care not to use these two together, and make sure that the heat of the electric blanket is not turned up too high, to prevent burns.

  • If possible, stay active

Another way of staying warm when temperatures drop is to stay active. During the day, when it is more bearable to do so, a quick walk around the garden can do wonders for the body.  It can also invigorate the mind and do a lot to soothe mental health issues, like depression or anxiety. If a person isn’t able to walk by him or herself anymore, even simple armchair exercises may be enough to get the heart rate up and the blood pumping.

  • Ensure they are eating a healthy diet

Our eating habits play an important role in our overall health.  Even though we tend to gravitate towards hearty, carbohydrate-rich meals like stews, we should try and ensure that older people, and those living with life-limiting illnesses, still consume plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit as part of a healthy diet. If needs be, and if recommended by a primary care physician, use supplements (vitamins B, C, D, along with zinc and probiotics) as well as nutritional shakes to make up for any shortfalls.

  • Stay hydrated

It is easier to ensure that our loved ones are drinking enough water in summer, but making sure they are hydrated can prove more difficult during the colder months. While we all tend to drink more hot beverages like coffee and tea in the winter, it is important to remember that caffeinated drinks can lead to dehydration, which can lead to further problems. Keep track of the amount of water being consumed every day to prevent this.

It goes without saying that people are more likely to get sick in winter than they are in summer. When it comes to older family members, it is especially important to ensure that they stay healthy. Simple things like good eating habits and some activity during the day make a huge difference when it comes to overall health and wellbeing.  Remember to show you care by visiting them and making regular phone calls.

To find out more about the palliative care services offered by HospiceWits in the greater Johannesburg region, click here.

How can HospiceWits help you become a qualified carer?

Aside from providing care that meets the physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families residing in the greater Johannesburg region, HospiceWits also offers the opportunity to gain the qualifications that are necessary to start a professional journey as a carer.

HospiceWits, in association with the Centre for Palliative Learning (CPL) and Healthcare Skills Development, presents aspiring carers with accredited courses that equip the students with the range of the skills required to enter this profession.

All courses are presented by Francois De Marcy Pugin, the supervisor at our CPL, a registered nurse general, community and psychiatry, an accoucher, and also the Quality Assurance Coordinator for HospiceWits.

Accredited courses

Accredited courses offer students the opportunity to start the journey of becoming a qualified nurse, whilst also gaining qualifications in home-based care. Students are able to gain their nursing qualification at an institute of Higher Education after graduating from our NQF Level 3 course (L3 Home-Based Personal Carer).

  • L2 Assisted Home-Based Personal Carer

This NQF Level 2 accredited course entails six months of full-time training, practical work and work skills placement. The theoretical component of the course is presented via face-to-face sessions, while the practical component takes place both at HospiceWits’ in-patient facility and with patients who receive home-based care. The minimum entry requirement for this course is grade 9 (with a pass in English) or an ABET learner qualification in NQF Level 1.

Credits earned: 70

Cost: R19 000

  • L3 Home-Based Personal Carer

The L3 Home-Based Personal Carer course further qualifies a person in home-based care, and consists of 12 months of full-time training, practicals and work skills placement. Just like the L2 Assisted Home-Based Personal Carer course, the theoretical component of the L3 Home-Based Personal Carer course is presented via face-to-face sessions, with the practical component taught at HospiceWits’ in-patient facility and with patients who receive home-based care. The minimum entry requirement for this course is matric with passing grades in English and Maths (core or literacy).

Credits earned: 135

Cost: R27 000

Please take note that registration for any of HospiceWits’ accredited courses is always open – please see the first semester course start dates for the accredited NQF Level 2 and Level 3 courses by clicking here and scrolling down to the table.

Also click here to see a detailed breakdown of each accredited and non-accredited course on offer, and send an email to training@hospicewits.co.za for more information or to get registration forms.

Here’s how HospiceWits’s short courses can set you on a path to provide care in your community

South Africa’s healthcare services were already overburdened and overstretched before COVID-19 struck, but the pandemic has made the need for adequate healthcare and supportive therapeutic skills in our communities even more acute.

HospiceWits, in association with the Centre for Palliative Learning and Healthcare Skills Development, aims to fill this gap by equipping people with the skills needed to provide care in their communities through a range of short, non-accredited courses.

All courses are presented by Francois De Marcy Pugin, the supervisor at our CPL, a registered nurse general, community and psychiatry, an accoucher, and also the Quality Assurance Coordinator for HospiceWits.

Non-accredited courses

The short, non-accredited courses offered through HospiceWits’ training department provide the opportunity for adult-based learning, self-enhancement and learning development. By completing these courses, students equip themselves with professional, supportive and therapeutic skills to utilise within their communities and alleviate the burden on South African healthcare systems, which are especially under pressure at the moment. All non-accredited courses are NQF Level 1.

  • Ancillary Healthcare Workers Course (AHC)

This course’s duration is 10 days (over a three-month period) and has both a theoretical (conducted via face-to-face sessions) and a practical component, which touch on the following aspects related to home care:

– General hygiene in the home.

– Bed bathing, bed making, and making sure the patient is comfortable at all times.

– Mouth care and proper cleaning procedures.

– Prevention of bedsores by regular massage of body parts and changing positions.

– Temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure.

– Basic nutrition and education to family members about what to feed the patient.

– Care of the dying, preparation of the family and patients, unfinished matters.

– HIV/AIDS and TB. 

– Foundational anatomy and physiology. 

– Professional communication as opposed to social communication. 

– Patient rights and dignity. 

Assessments, assignments and tests will be written, and a certificate will be issued upon completion.

Cost: R4700

  • Community Home-Based Palliative Care Introduction Course (PHBC)

Also completed in 10 days over a three-month period, the PHBC has a theoretical (conducted via face-to-face sessions) and a practical component, which equip students with the following skills relating to home care.

– General hygiene in the home.

– Bed bathing, bed making and making sure the patient is comfortable at all times.

– Mouth care and proper cleaning procedures.

– Prevention of bedsores by regular massage of body parts and changing positions.

– Temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure (BP).

– Basic nutrition and education to family members about what to feed the patient.

– Care of the dying, preparation of the family and patients, unfinished matters.

– Professional communication as opposed to social communication.

– Patient rights and dignity.

– Palliative care to persons with life-threatening illnesses; includes symptom management, pain control, medication management and much more.

Assessments, assignments and tests will be written, and a certificate will be issued upon completion.

Cost: R4700

  • Anticipated Grief, Loss and Bereavement Course (GLB)

Aimed at supporting both adults and children, the theoretical component of these courses is presented via face-to-face workshops. The course helps students:

– To increase knowledge and understanding of grief, loss and bereavement.

– To develop insight into grief through the ages.

– To learn new and creative ways of supporting the bereaved.

– To develop new insights and skills for grief and bereavement support.

– To enhance self-awareness.

Cost: Adults – R2500, Children – R2500

  • Dementia Course (DEM)

This two-day workshop equips caregivers to offer appropriate supportive care to people who have dementia-related conditions. The course has theoretical and practical components.

Cost: R2500

  • Practical Nursing Care Course (PNC)

This 10-day workshop introduces students to basic nursing procedures, including but not limited to:

– Bed bathing, bed making, and making sure the patient is comfortable at all times.

– Mouth care and proper cleaning procedures.

– Prevention of bedsores by regular massage of body parts and changing positions.

– Temperature, pulse, respiration and blood pressure.

– Basic nutrition and education to family members about what to feed the patient.

Cost: R2500

Please take note that registration for any of HospiceWits’ non-accredited courses is always open. Non-accredited courses will start once the course intake is full, and dates will be communicated in due course in this regard.

Click here to see a detailed breakdown of each accredited and non-accredited course on offer, and send an email to training@hospicewits.co.za for more information or to get registration forms.