The in-patient unit (IPU) at the Centurion hospice was finally reopened, after it closed its doors around four years ago, at the weekend.
“With 14 beds, the facility will provide much-needed care for patients who cannot afford palliative and respite care,” Centurion hospice general manager, Annette Reed said. The reopening of the unit coincided with World Hospice and Palliative Care Day which was commemorated on 10 October.
“We are pleased that the opening of our newly refurbished facility coincides with World Hospice and Palliative Care Day,” she said.
The day, coined to be one for unified action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world was commemorated under the theme “my care, my comfort”.
“The Centurion IPU closed in 2017 due to financial constraints, but also because of the narrow admission requirements Centurion hospice set for taking inpatient,” Reed said.
She added they had now expanded on their definition of what an IPU patient was and now included patients with life-limiting and life-threatening illnesses.
“This will include pre-terminal and aged patients who are totally unable to care for themselves and who are more than 50% bedridden.”
Reed said hospices played an integral part of a community’s response to providing healthcare for people who did not have access to private medical care as palliative care was also not high on the list of local public health facilities, adding that “hospices step into that gap”.
She explained palliative care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families faced with challenges associated with life-threatening illness through preventing and relieving suffering.
This was said to be done through means of early identification, assessment, treatment of pain and other issues whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual. While they looked after and improved the quality of life of patients with life-threatening illnesses, Reed noted that not all patients die.
“Some improve and some, to a certain point, even recover.”
Reed further said that other aspects of the palliative care approach included providing relief from pain and other distressing symptoms; offering a support system to help patients live as actively as possible; offering support to the families of the patient during the illness and using a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families.
A team approach is used to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counselling, if indicated.
“We, therefore, urge the community to get involved by either donating goods, giving cash donations or become a volunteer,” Reed said.
“Home-based patients need visits to assist them with cleaning, washing and just a little company like perhaps reading or just conversation; shops need sorters and assistants and events need people to assist with the organisation of events.”