HospiceWits offers palliative care to the community in and around Johannesburg and Soweto. We often get asked what exactly is palliative care? Is it different from hospice care?
Palliative care is given to people who are dealing with long term illness, as well as people who are undergoing chemotherapy. The whole idea behind palliative care is to improve the quality of life of someone with a life threatening disease, and those undergoing treatment.
Palliative care isn’t dependent on the stage of the illness. As soon as a patient is diagnosed with a disease they may be placed under palliative care. The main aim of palliative care is to act as a supplement to the treatments someone is receiving.
This differs from hospice care, which is provided for a patient towards the end of their life, and when there is no chance of recovery from their terminal illness.
There are several overlapping elements to both palliative and hospice care. Both seek to help reduce pain and improve quality of life. Palliative care also gives families and caregivers a chance to take a break from caring for the patient while they recover. Pain and symptom management are taken care of in both hospice and through palliative care and support. Psychological help is also provided in both instances for the patient as well as their family and carers.
In both cases, however, a large contingent of specialists are involved in the care of the patient, including nurses, social workers, psychologists, doctors and volunteers. The focus is on raising the quality of life of the patient as they undergo treatment – in the case of palliative care – or helping to ease pain and symptoms as the patient approaches the end of their lives.
Providing palliative care to patients is costly. HospiceWits does not receive any government grants in order to care for its patients and relies on financial contributions from the public in order to continue to provide the vital care that they do.