Our Lady’s Hospice is a nine bed inpatient facility started by the Daughters of Charity in response to the suffering of the dying poor, majority of whom had difficulty in accessing health care as a result of financial constraints, has become a home to be desired by many patients with chronic conditions.
Under the leadership of Sister Eileen as the Hospice Manager, patients with life limiting conditions in this rural village in the outskirts of Nairobi have greatly benefitted from services offered by the dedicated team at the facility.
Sister Eileen says that when Daughters of Charity visited patients at their homes, they witnessed challenges in terms of their care and thought of creating a place where they could easily access comfort and care from a team of dedicated care givers.
She says that services offered to patients at Thigio Hospice include pain management, counseling, spiritual support and food is available for them.
“We have a Clinical Officer, four nurses, eight carers, a cook and two cleaners, a team that has over the years helped the facility to take care of up to 261 patients to date,” says Sr. Eileen.
She says that most of their patients are suffering from cancer and HIV but other conditions that merit palliative care are supported at the facility.
Most of the patients attended at the facility are enrolled with National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), a government medical scheme that helps them cushion their expenses. For those not enrolled with the scheme, they have to meet the cost which is KES1000 (12 USD) per day.
“We try to get donations, especially the equipment that we need at the Hospice, a reason why we keep looking for donors. It is expensive to run a hospice,” she says.
Sr. Eileen says that oral morphine is available to manage pain as well as adult diapers.
“Apart from patients who come from the region, we receive some from Kitale, Homa Bay and Thika as well as others who are referred from Nairobi Hospital and Kenyatta National Hospital,” she adds.
She says that patients can only access services at the Hospice if they have been referred from a health facility. “We do not take patients unless they have a referral letter from a health facility for we only have nine beds.”
“Our patients need care, compassion and love besides ensuring that they are pain free and their families are encouraged,” says Sr. Eileen.
The Hospice Manager says that the oldest patient they have attended to is 98year old while the youngest is a child of 10years.
Our Lady’s Hospice does not take children below 10years unless they lack an alternative center to take care of them.
Patients, family members, relatives and friends have appreciated the care offered at the Hospice and with continued support there is hope that patients with life threatening illnesses will keep receiving care at this place of peace, prayer and hope.