Course provides amazing insight into caring

Staff members of the Rynpark Association for the Elderly in Benoni recently attended an Introduction to Palliative Care course at Stepping Stone Hospice.

“The light came on – we realised just how important it is to see the patient as a whole person, and to include the genograms – a pictorial display of a person’s family relationships and medical history – in caring for the residents in our homes,” says Colette Jansen van Vuuren, nursing services manager at the Rynpark Association for the Elderly in Benoni.

Colette and four of her colleagues attended the Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services’ course on Introduction to Palliative Care held in September 2018. They formed part of a group of 15 students who completed the 40-hour course at the hospice’s newly established Centre for Palliative Learning.

This course is designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to provide basic palliative care. It responds to the World Health Assembly Resolution 67.19 that recommends that all health professionals undertake basic training in palliative care.

Says Colette; “we have also learnt how important it is for the whole team, the nurses, the occupational therapists, the care coordinators and the lifestyle assistants, to take hands in the care of our residents.”

The course covered topics such as Principles of Palliative Care, Ethics and End of Life Decision Making, Communication Skills and the Team and Family as well as Loss, Grief and Bereavement.

The hospice engaged the services of Fiona Shraga who is facilitating the “Introduction to Palliative Care” Course. Fiona is a nursing tutor and HPCA e-learning national coordinator in the Short Course Palliative Care Nursing and has several qualifications behind her name such as Professional Nurse and Midwife. She has completed her degree in nursing education, nursing management, community health, and completed her palliative care training at Wits Hospice. The e-learning online facilitation course was done through UCT.

Dates for the next courses will soon be released. For more information or to register your interest in attending the course, please email Sonia Thomson at

To find out more about Stepping Stone Hospice and the work they do, click here

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