Breede River Hospice Home based Palliative Care

Project location: SOUTH AFRICA, Cape Winelands
Project start date: May 2017 - Project end date: April 2018
Project number: 2017-013
Beneficiary: Breede River Hospice

Breede River Hospice is a civil society response to the lack of holistic palliative care available to the public and private patient in South Africa. It was formed in 1999 and was a first responder to people in their own homes stricken with the AIDS virus. As there was then no treatment for the virus, palliative care was the best method for soothing pain and symptoms; and then supporting the bereaved family members.

With HIV positive people now able to access lifelong treatment, BRH has reverted to caring for the seriously ill and terminally ill patients of a population of 105,000. First choice is usually home care surrounded by family members but BRH does have a 24HR center where Hospice patients can be admitted.

The district of the Cape Winelands where BRH serves is called Langeberg and is a famous wine and fruit growing region. Much has and is being done to correct the injustices of the past apartheid regime, but health services are not equally available to all. BRH employs a full multi disciplinary team including a doctor, professional nurses, social workers and trained volunteers. Seven vehicles go into the field daily to bring relief of suffering to mostly deeply impoverished patients who have been referred to Hospice by the government clinics.

Impeccable care and support changes the lives of the patients and their families. For children especially, it is traumatic to experience neglect of the ill or elderly person.

Through the responsive, positive and professional impact of Breede River Hospice, BRH believes it is helping to create stability in turbulent communities experiencing high levels of social ills. Because BRH's service gives hope that people matter. BRH believes that any civilized society must include a home based palliative care service.

BRH's patient numbers consistently reflect 14% black beneficiaries, 73% colored and 13% white patients. These numbers fairly represent the demographics of the area so BRH is proud to be serving where we are most needed.

Breede River Hospice works hard to maintain its status as an accredited health service provider and uses this capacity to assist the Department of Health in service delivery programs at primary health care level. The area has too many TB patients and people suffering from lifestyle diseases such as strokes, diabetes and substance abuse.

BRH's work is dependent on the kindness of philanthropy. BRH achieves part sustainability through income from three well supported charity shops selling mainly second hand clothing. Until BRH's Department of Health has developed sufficiently to be able to offer home based palliative care, BRH is going to have to continue to call for aid from corporates, trusts and individuals who believe, as Hospice founder Dame Cicely said, "You matter and you matter until the last minute of your life". This is the most important message that BRH carries forward.

think global, act local
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