On 1st August 1997 the Kouga satellite of St Francis Hospice, Port Elizabeth was opened in Humansdorp, with Lex Gutsche as chairman and Sr Elna de Bruin as manager, to serve the areas of Humansdorp, St Francis Bay, Jeffrey’s Bay, Oyster Bay, Thornhill, Loerie, Hankey, Patensie, Kareedouw, Woodlands and Clarkson. In June 2011, Sr Elna retired and was succeeded by Sr Ingrid Williams.
In the 20 years of its existence there have been many challenges and changes have been made accordingly. Unfortunately, as with most non-profit organisations, the biggest challenge is always ensuring the availability of sufficient funds to continue providing the vital service. Over the past three years, retrenchments have been necessary and staff numbers have been reduced by 50% to two professional nurses, one care worker and an office administrator.
Due to better availability of ARV’s and improved compliance on medication, the incidence of AIDS continues to be on the decrease and by far the majority of patients have various forms of cancer. St Francis Hospice takes on any patient with a terminal disease including kidney failure, terminal heart conditions and various neurological conditions such as motor neurone disease. Hospice is committed to continue giving care where it is desperately needed and although operating with a reduced staff complement, the same areas are still covered.
Hospice provides palliative care in patients’ own homes and strives to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems with the terminally ill. This is achieved by prevention and relief of suffering, the early identification, assessment and treatment of pain and other symptoms. A large component of the service is education and support of family members and carers in handling the many challenges, both physical and emotional, involved in the care of terminally ill loved ones, Necessary equipment such as wheelchairs and commodes are made available for patient use.
The ethos of Hospice is one of care and compassion. A holistic approach is used integrating physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual aspects. Care is available to all, regardless of race, creed or financial status.
Sr Ingrid Williams says: ‘we thank the entire community for all the support they have given Hospice over the years. Without that support we would not be able to care for the terminally ill or provide the necessary service to families. Our deepest desire is that we will be able to continue giving the support we do to the people in the Kouga area who need it. Every individual has the right to die with dignity and love’.
The above was transcribed by Trevor Wiblin, Executive Director of St Francis Hospice – Nelson Mandela Bay from the article which appeared on 1st August 2017 in the Kouga local newspaper, OUR TIMES. The following offered their congratulations and supported the publication of the article: Dis-Chem Pharmacies, Kouga Funerals, Kouga Wind Farm, St Francis Links, First Choice Dairy Products and Link Pharmacies.