South Africa celebrates Hospice Week: 4 – 11 May 2014

Categories: Community Engagement.

The mission of HPCA (Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa) is to promote quality in life, dignity in death and support in bereavement for all living with a life-threatening illness by supporting member hospices. In partnering with member hospices and partner organisations HPCA is able to reach out to more people who need palliative care in the country. This is one example of how the organisation relies on partnerships to provide palliative care, to promote awareness of it and by extending their expertise to reach the common goal. They rely heavily on partnerships with local and overseas funders, local government, generous corporate funders, partner and service organisations and volunteers.

As the philosophy of palliative care reflects a multi-disciplinary approach, the patient’s doctor and the patient’s family are also considered to be partners in the care.

HPCA is a non-profit organisation that comprises of 137 member hospices that independently provide palliative care to patients with life-threatening illnesses, including children with incurable illnesses such as AIDS and cancer. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), palliative care is “an approach that improves quality of life to patients and their families facing problems associated with life-threatening illnesses.”

Hospice Week is a national event which is included in the national Government health calendar and will be celebrated from the 4 to 11 May 2014. These hospices will use Hospice Week to raise awareness of palliative care through various activities such as concerts and open days, and to highlight their essential services, which are provided regardless of race, culture, age or ability to pay.

Hospice is a philosophy and not just a place as many people think. It is normally identified as “a place where people go to die” but through Hospice Week, we will be giving our 137 member hospices the opportunity to advocate what really takes place inside those buildings and in patients’ homes, where 98% of hospice care is given. In addition they offer care day care, support groups, in-patient units and training in palliative care.

This year in celebration of Hospice Week, HPCA is hosting an event in Cape Town, “Lace up for Cancer”, a fun 5km walk and 10km run around Rondebosch Common at 7h30 on Saturday 10 May. The aim of the event is to commemorate those infected/affected by cancer, and participants can show their support of those living with cancer by dressing up in the most craziest costume. The first 100 entrants to register online will receive a pair of funky laces on the day, there will be prizes for the most outrageous dress plus lucky draw prizes. Entry is free but there will be a facility for cash donations on the day. Late entries will also be accepted at 7h00 on the day.

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