COVID 19 EMERGENCY - Support to the Palliative Care Team of the Breede River Hospice in the Western Cape, South Africa

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Project location: SOUTH AFRICA, Langeberg
Project start date: March 2020 - Project end date: May 2020
Project number: 2020-007
Beneficiary: Breede River Hospice

Since 1999, Breede River Hospice (BRH) has been the only hospice palliative care service for the people of Langeberg in the Western Cape, South Africa. A population of 105,000 where the majority remain affected by apartheid and the resulting lack of access to health and other services. It is a region with a high prevalence of HIV and TB.
BRH supports families where a member has been diagnosed with a life limiting or life threatening illness – doing symptom control and managing pain. It is not only the much-needed care for the patient, providing dignity and peace of mind, but also the support to the family that is invaluable and has an indelible impact on the whole family and community.
With limited resources BHR extenda its services tirelessly to a population of 104,289 of which 70% are coloured, 15% black and 15% white.

Having formed as an accredited Hospice civil society organisation, the Hospice was positioned to respond to the disaster of HIV at a time when one thousand South Africans a day were dying.

BRH maintains a team of a doctor, 6 registered nurses, 3 social workers and caseworkers who use ten vehicles to access deeply rural areas and bring home care and facilitate access to clinics and hospitals. This programme employs 33 lay nurses who are language and culture compatible with the communities which they serve. They are trained in health education and their objective is to promote wellness and prevent illness through early screening and detection of disease and the successful trasnfer of knowledge regarding available services and healthy lifestyles.
Being a non government, not for profit that is fully compliant with statutory and fiduciary requirements, BRH was able to step in with Department of Health as a service delivery partner for community based home care and support.

The Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, in 2017, granted a project to Breede River Hospice as a support to it's palliative care program.

As the COVID19 pandemic marches on, the Breede River Hospice (BRH) is facing a financial crisis.
The Hospice in fact, has had to close both their charity shops. The funds raised at these shops are directly allocated to operational costs but specifically to cover the salaries and petrol costs of their Patient Care Team. For the month of March they didn't reach the target at both shops (Lockdown started on the 26th of March) and will also not be making target in April (Lockdown anticipated to end on 16 or 17 April).

The Hospice management team is working from home trying to keep the wheels turning and to ensure that the services continue and none of the patients are neglected during this time. The Hospice staff also practically run around to ensure that they do not run out of medical supply: masks, sanitizers, liquid soap, etc.
The doctor, nurses and social workers only visit the very sick, Category 3 patients, but still provide support to all the patients and family members via telephonic contact. The Patient Care Manager monitors the situation daily, so that the staff do not overlook anyone who would need it's help. The service still runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Hospice will also embark on COVID19 home screenings. This will be done by it's Community Health Workers and Professional Nurses leading this team. This Home and Community Based Care (HCBC) programme is run in partnership with the Department of Health (DoH). The Hospice oversees all the logistical and project management areas of this programme.

In response to the Covid 19 outbreak, the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation has awarded an emergency grant to help the Breede River Hospice (BRH) sustain its running costs. The NaEPF grant partially covers the salary costs of BRH staff.  

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