The core belief of the association is that human life can be cared for consciously, in security and dignity, so that it may end in a familiar environment where possible and desired.
Since 1992, volunteer hospice staff, hospice doctors and qualified palliative care nurses and chaplains work in Salzburg together as an inter-professional team to support people in their last phase of life together with their families.
This ‘accompaniment’ is offered for the people concerned and their families at home, in retirement or nursing homes, in hospital, or in the day hospice, ‘Kleingmain’.
Speaking about the day hospice, a female patient said: “I’m incredibly happy here. From the moment you enter, the walk continues until you’re going home. You’re cared for and your wishes are fulfilled. The day hospice has become for me a beautification of life.”
Day Hospice – a place of hospitality
People with a progressive serious illness and thus limited life expectancy can access care in the day hospice.
Patients – here called guests – can participate in various activities here outside their usual home environment. The day hospice community counteracts the risk of disease-related social isolation and supports the independence of those affected at the end of life.
This is especially true of the support group, where guests share their experience with their disease and treatments. This group motivates guests to talk about their own condition and exchange ideas on how to deal with their situation.
Active and well-trained hospice volunteers ensure interpersonal care and connection, and a varied daily programme. This empowers people to have greater autonomy at a time when they are weakened by illness and dependence on others.
Creative activities such as painting, cooking together, reading sessions, meditation, music and crafts complete the programme in accordance with the interests of the guests. Spiritual care is offered during the day hospice opening times as desired and need.
The guests here can decide how long they want to spend at the day hospice, and after this time they may return home where they may have greater independence. At the day hospice, they have the opportunity to attend various activities outside their usual home environment, and to access more effective pain counselling and treatment.
One guest noted: “The hospice is for me a place of learning, living and sharing the knowledge that you go along a street where there is an end.”
Another said: “What is very special for me is that you really feel that you can say anything, and they always hear and do everything possible, even if they have limited options, the staff can do much, where maybe another could not.“
A comprehensive service concept
The hospice staff are accompanied by well-trained volunteers, and this enables a workaday life and various activities. Walks, talks, social activities, trips and celebrations are possible because of their work.
An important part of the day hospice service are palliative medical supplies. There is enough time for discussions on therapy and disease course, to find suitable treatments and medications. So, in addition to the classic treatment methods, other therapies are used to relieve symptoms such as pain, nausea, weakness, dizziness, etc. Cooperation with general practitioners and specialists, as well as attending hospital physicians, is also available.
Certified care professionals offer holistic individual care and support. The sick person and their family stands at the centre of their psycho-social support. Consulting and relief discussions, as well as the instructions of family carers within the meaning of palliative care are an integral part of nursing tasks. Besides dressing changes, liniments, baths or injections are performed. In addition, nursing services and nursing assistance at home, if desired, are organised.
The close contact to various home nursing organisations and the mobile palliative team, ‘Caritas’ supports efforts to enable adults with serious illness to remain at home in the last days of life. Time spent at the day hospice can help the family system to stabilise the extent that the members can cope better with home care in the long-term. If required, other services such as physiotherapy, psychotherapy, etc. are carried out in the day hospice or arranged from there.
The day hospice helps to relieve relatives and outpatient services and to avoid unnecessary hospitalisations. Many guests are able to live up to their last hour at home, because of the support of day hospice.
Structure and objectives
Originally the building of the day hospice Kleingmain in Salzburg was a rural barn, now it is an independent private health institution. It is closely associated with the mobile volunteer hospice companions and the mobile palliative care home.
The day hospice currently runs every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:30 to 16:30, and offers a place for ten patients, mostly with a diagnosis of cancer, but also for people with ALS, neurological or other disorders.
Papageno – mobile hospice team for children and adolescents
In addition to the day hospice for adults, the mobile hospice team, ‘Papageno’ for children and adolescents has been in operation since 2015. In the opera, ‘The Magic Flute’ by Mozart, the friendly bird catcher, ‘Papageno’ stays with the hero, ‘Tamino’ in difficult situations. So do the doctors, nurses and volunteers of the Papageno team support children with a life-threatening or life-limiting disease and their families at home, regardless of the course of time needed, or chance of recovery.
To keep the access threshold for patients as low as possible, the care in the day hospice and the mobile support is free, only a small fee per day is to be paid for meals.
To maintain the performance of the day hospice and the Papageno team, about 50% of the costs are financed by the Salzburg Health Fund and Social Security Institutions, while 50% come from donations, membership dues and fundraising campaigns.