What is a Hospice?
Hospice is not a place but a philosophy of care and therefore can be taken to the patients wherever they are... at home, residential care, frail care, hospitals.
Hospice is a special kind of caring for patients and their loved ones. Hospice care includes the control of pain and other symptoms and emotional, social and spiritual problems. Palliative care is offered by a team comprising doctors, professional nurses, therapists, social workers, spiritual counsellors and volunteers.
Hospices are the only facilities in South Africa providing palliative care as defined by the world health organisation.
Palliative care and the hospice movement started in the United Kingdom and many of the professional developments in palliative care have come from the management of patients with cancer.
Hospices care for patients with other terminal illnesses.
South African hospices have responded effectively to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in partnership with other health care agencies in clinics, hospitals and community based organisations to achieve the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.
A BRIEF HISTORY
In March 1980 the first formal meeting of the directors of St Luke's Hospice took place following the visit to Cape Town Dame Cecily Saunders, the world renowned initiator of the hospice concept. The organization was officially incorporated as a non-profit company on 13 August 1980, to care for all people in need of its services regardless of their ability to pay, or of the class, colour or creed.
St Luke's started working in the in patient care field in 1982. At this time the St Luke's Hospice offices were situated at the Vincent Palotti Hospital in Pinelands. Then they were moved to a home in Trill Road Observatory but it became obvious that the premises were too small and with the help of the Lombardi Family Trust in 1985 the present Kenilworth property was acquired.
In September 1985 a Day Care Centre commenced operations, initially for one day a week only.
In January 1986 the Lombardi Ward opened, providing six in patient beds. This was the first unit of its kind in the Western Cape. Towards the end of 1986 the Bereavement Counselling service commenced, providing a telephone counselling follow-up service to families of deceased patients for an appropriate period.
In May 1987 approval to build a twenty bed extension was granted, following the financial support of the Hon, George Borwick. This unit which included a large atrium, medical clinics, additional offices and a chapel was opened on 18th January 1988 by the Administrator of the Cape Province, Mr Gene Louw. Since then unfortunately owing to the high costs of staffing such a large unit, only ten of the beds have been utilized or are able to be used.
During the time from 1989 to 1992 St Luke's Hospice developed very rapidly into a well established facility at Kenilworth rendering palliative care to dying people and their families.
The Board of Directors then decided to take a big step forward by taking the hospice concept into the community.
It was decided to encourage communities to have their own hospices which would be branches of St Luke's but owned and run by a committee from the community.
WHO defines Palliative Care as the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain and other symptoms and of psychological, social and spiritual problems is paramount. The goal of Palliative Care is achievement of the best quality of life for patients and their families.
The essence of Palliative Care is that it is always positive, planned, purposeful and focuses on living actively while dealing with the effects of illness.
St Luke's professional interdisciplinary team cares for patients with all terminal illnesses. The most common illnesses are cancer, AIDS and motor neuron disease.
The enormity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic has resulted in adapting the traditional hospital hospice model to condition in South Africa.
Hospice networks with clinics, hospitals and other informal care agencies and trains and employs people from the community as caregivers to provide quality care to patients and their families.
There is no charge for being a patient at St Luke's Hospice. However if a patient is a member of a medical aid any claims that would be covered by the medical aid are submitted.
We rely on the generous donations of the Cape Town community, businesses trust funds and international donors such as Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and Elton John Foundation.