Why hospice?

‘You matter because you are you, and you matter to the last moment of your life. We will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully but also to live until you die.’ (Cicely Saunders).

This quote sums up very succinctly why Hospice exists and why so many passionate people work and volunteer at Hospice. People matter, in particular, people matter when they are sick and when they are dying. We believe that no matter your circumstances, you deserve to be pain free, have your symptoms (both from the illness and/or treatment) managed; and to live as dignified and complete a life as you are capable of, until you die. We will try to help you achieve this.

We want to help you live as completely as possible until you die.

The Msunduzi Hospice Association embodies this belief through activities within the community of Msunduzi (greater Pietermaritzburg). Msunduzi Hospice offers Hospice and Palliative care. “Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.” (World Health Organisation). A more focused and specialised field of palliative care focuses on children. This care is provided by Msunduzi Hospice to anyone who has need of it and who meets our admission criteria (listed below).

If you have any questions about patient care or the patient related service we offer please click here.

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What can hospice do for you?

Msunduzi Hospice provides Home Based Care only in the greater Msunduzi Municipality (there are a few areas outside of the municipality where services are provided).

Our care is provided free of charge and no member of our staff will request payment for any of the care services provided. In some cases medical aids will pay for Hospice and/or Palliative Care and with permission, claims will be made. The availability of these funds will have no impact on whether Hospice services are made available or the quality of those services.

Our care is provided by members of an Interdisciplinary Team made up of nurses, social workers, memory workers, and care givers. Volunteer doctors provide input at team meetings. Occasional volunteer physiotherapists, complimentary therapists are available to provide insight into patient needs.

Our care is limited by the available resources and because of this prospective patients are screened against a set of criteria as detailed below:
- Confirmed diagnosis of an advanced incurable disease (life threatening illness);
- The prospective patient should have a poor prognosis;
- The patient must give consent to be referred to Msunduzi Hospice;

The following diagnostic tests will support the admission process:
- For HIV patients, a CD4 count and viral load is required;
- For TB patients, a recent sputum result confirming diagnosis;
- For cancer patients, a referral letter and/or a Hospice medical form indicating stage of illness and prognosis from your oncologist;
- For any other end stage, life threatening illness, a referral letter and/or Hospice medical form indicating stage of illness and prognosis from your doctor;
- Children are admitted on the same criteria as listed above;

What happens next?
- Once the patient has given permission (consent) to be referred to Hospice, the person making the referral will send a letter and/or the Hospice medical form to Msunduzi Hospice. (The patient themselves, or a close family member can also make this referral.)
- The prospective patient will then be screened by a member of the care team to determine if the patient will benefit from the services provided by Msunduzi Hospice and if they meet our criteria;
- If this is the case an initial assessment (first assessment) is completed by a nurses and a care plan is drawn up in consultation with the patient, the patient’s family, (and any one else who may have an input into the care of the patient;
- This care plan is then implemented (revised as necessary);

Please contact our offices for more information.

Also available from Msunduzi Hospice is a range of workshops. These workshops focus on aspects of palliative and hospice care and are ideal for those in the care industry and also for those wanting to help loved ones at home. These workshops are offered to groups of 10 or more participants. In some instances CPD points will be applied for. The cost of these workshops varies and is adjusted from year to year.

The following list of courses and workshops are available at Msunduzi Hospice for groups of ten or more people. Please contact Sheila for more information.

Children and grief workshop – 2 day workshop – the focus is on children who have suffered loss and are grieving. Sadly, many children in today's society have suffered from one or more losses in some form or another and the workshop also looks at practical ways in which to help these children. An explanation of memory work is also included.

Introduction to palliative care for professionals – 5 day workshop designed to create an understanding of the principles of palliative care. At the end of the course participants should be able to begin applying these principals. The course explores the holistic approach to the care of the person and families facing life threatening illnesses and covers physical, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of care and the many challenges faced in each of these areas.

Basic Hospice course – 6 mornings or otherwise structured to meet participants available time - this course looks at the basic work of Hospice and also serves as a safe platform to explore your own feelings around loss and illness. It is both a course to increase knowledge and a course for personal growth. It looks at topics such as loss, grief and bereavement, palliative care, spiritual and cultural care, pain and symptom management, the dying patient, communication skills. The course is very interactive with daily theory sessions followed by group work and homework.

Grief and bereavement workshop – 2 day workshop exploring the concepts of loss, grief and bereavement. The workshop looks at how grief affects us, what is normal, how can we help others and can also give some understanding about our own responses and ways of coping with grief.

Counselling workshop - This 2 morning workshop is focused on developing an understanding of the basic skills required for communication in a therapeutic relationship. Theory of the basic skills is given followed by an opportunity to practice these skills within the safe environment of the workshop.

Introduction to Palliative care for ENA’s and Carers – 5 day workshop - The concept of palliative care is unpacked and some of the issues relating to facing a life threatening or serious illness are looked at. The holistic approach to patient care is explored. The course is designed to increase understanding of palliative care and how it can be applied in any setting to improve quality of life for the patient.

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How you can help us.

As we provide a free service to our patients, these services need to be supported.

A large and comprehensive support structure exists to ensure that our patients receive the best care we are able to deliver.

The main activities here are fund raising activities and these consist of the following.

Our retail activities generate a significant portion of our monthly income which is then used to support patient care and other administrative functions within Msunduzi Hospice. All the items sold in our three shops have been donated by the generous members of the wider community of Pietermaritzburg. These items have been lovingly cared for by you, our supporters, and we truly appreciate every donation that we receive. We have three shops from which the donated items can be purchased – a clothing shop, a bric-a-brac shop and a book shop. All our well supported by the community and we encourage you pay us a visit.

Msunduzi Hospice hosts a number of fantastic, fun filled events during the year which also contribute towards our income. These events range from fairs, to wine tasting to formal dinners. Please like our Facebook page and sign up on our mailing list for timely notification of these events and all the details. Show your support and help us to continue to provide our much needed care.

A number of events were planned for 2020, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic these events have been put on the back burner. We will explore new activities that will be safe for everyone and update our Facebook page regularly.

Grant/proposal writing:
Msunduzi Hospice relies not only on the generosity of members of the community, but we also approach business to support our care services. Formal proposals are developed and submitted to a number of businesses locally and internationally wherein we request specific funding to continue our operations. Our thanks to those many organisations, companies, trusts who support us. Various documents are available on request from the office (e.g. Audited financials, statistical reports, etc.) please complete the message form with the details of the documents requested and we will respond via e-mail within a week.

We have a small telemarketing programme that we administer ourselves. At the moment this is operated by a volunteer in order to keep down the associated costs. Your support, if and when you are approached, would be appreciated. We remain grateful for those who make regular donations in support of Msunduzi Hospice.

Multi Purpose Venue:
A multi purpose venue is available for hire. This venue is most suitable for small training sessions and workshops. Small functions can also be be catered for. We do not allow large parties, weddings and functions that generate loud noise.

Volunteers form an integral aspect of our activities here at Hospice and if you are interested in assisting as a volunteer please contact the PA who will set up an appointment for you.

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