Palliative patient care remains crucial amid Covid-19

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, and Featured.

During lockdown, Zululand Hospice has continued caring for patients, their families and community members

Hospice and palliative care has come under the spotlight amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and patients and their families saw the benefit of home-based care owing to the restrictions currently imposed at healthcare facilities.

Zululand Hospice, with centres based in Richards Bay and Empangeni, continued caring for their patients, their families and community members throughout the lockdown.

While many other workers were at home during Levels 5 to 3, Hospice’s clinical team were out in the community, in urban and rural areas, attending to their patients in their homes.

Zululand Hospice Clinical Manager, Sr Jane Ashburner, said at ZHA all Covid-19 regulations are adhered to, including screening all staff daily and issuing staff with all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

‘During visits, patients and household members are educated on Covid-19 and supplied with infection control supplies.

‘To reduce the risk of infection, ZHA declined visits. In such cases nurses provide telephonic support and counselling, with drop-offs of food, nappies and medication arranged as needed.

‘We have found during this pandemic that our palliative care was needed more than ever.

‘One such incident highlighting the benefit and need for home-based palliative care involved a patient diagnosed with stage four cancer,’ said Ashburner.

‘A distraught family member contacted ZHA as their beloved relative had cancer which had spread rapidly and was affecting his ability to breathe and walk.

‘It was a very uncertain time for them, but one thing he was sure of was that he did not want to be admitted to a hospital where he would be isolated from his family and possibly not see them again.

‘Hospice stepped in and advised and supported him and the family, and they were very happy for him to be at home with them. He passed away within a week.

‘The family, while heartbroken, was very thankful to be with him when he died.

Caring for the community and having all hands on deck means Zululand Hospice still have all of their usual expenses, but unfortunately their income has declined owing to a halt in fund-raising efforts due to the lockdown restrictions.

Hospice is grateful for the public who continue to support with financial donations.

If you would like to discuss care for a patient, contact Zululand Hospice’s Clinical Manager, Sr Jane Ashburner, on 035 7724910 or 035 7891961, and for donations contact fund-raiser Ashley Naicker on 035 7891961 or 067 2000167

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