SERVICES BACKGROUND

We strive to ensure that every patient is cared for compassionately, comfortably and with dignity, and that every family receives the support they need during this difficult time. Chatsworth Hospice draws its patients mainly from the South Durban Zone which includes Chatsworth, Shallcross, Mariannhill, Yellowwood Park, Montclair, Merebank, Bluff, Isipingo, Lotus Park and parts of Amanzimtoti

Patient Referrals

A patient may be admitted to the services provided at the request of hospitals, primary health care clinics, medical practitioners and families of patients who are in possession of the patient’s diagnosis and/or a referral letter. A detailed initial assessment of the patient is undertaken by a professional nurse with palliative care training. On the basis of the information received, a treatment (care) plan is drawn up and implemented. This care plan is overseen by the Medical Director and the Interdisciplinary team, which meets weekly. Care plans are constantly monitored and adjusted according to the patient’s needs.

Home Based Care

This is a major thrust of the work of the Hospice, providing care, support and counselling of patients and their families in the familiar environment of their homes. Professional nurses and caregivers make regular home visits to monitor the condition and welfare of the patients and to assess the success of the care plan. This includes clinical, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of the patient’s wellbeing. If complications arise or modifications need to be made to the care plan, this may be done by telephonic consultation with the Medical Director. In 2007 we incorporated the informal settlement of Bottlebrush into our Homebased Care Programme. Most of the work here involves the management of patients who are HIV positive or who have a combination of HIV / TB, or MDR TB. All our support programmes are complimented by the work undertaken at the clinics in the surrounding area. This area is growing very rapidly and we have plans to extend our work to other informal settlements as well. Obviously it would depend on the availability of funds.

Day-Care Clinic

This clinic, which is attended by approximately 50 patients per Wednesday, is run by both Professional nurses and volunteers. Patients who are ambulant and not at the critical stage of their illness are transported to and from the clinic in Hospice vehicles. A larger number could be administered to if there were additional vehicles and drivers to cover the large geographical area from which patients come.A doctor, a retired hospital matron, nurses and volunteers attend to the patients’ needs. The clinic offers medical consultations, occupational and diversional therapy, access to complementary and alternate therapy and assistance with social problems. Patients are encouraged to form social/friendship groups with others similarly afflicted as this has been found to be therapeutic: it dispels the commonly held belief that diagnosis of a life-threatening disease means the end of life. To this end, entertainment and excursions are arranged periodically. Familiarity with the Hospice also promotes ease of transfer if and when these patients require admission to the in-patient ward.
Tea, snacks and lunch are provided, on a scheduled basis, by supporters from the local community or by Hospice volunteers.

In-Patient Unit

The 24 hour in-patient unit can accommodate up to 10 patients. Patients are admitted for both respite care and end-of-life care and are attended to by professional(palliative care trained) nurses assisted by caregivers, under the direct supervision of the Medical Director and guided by the interdisciplinary team. The services of six additional doctors, two psychologists, a social worker and religious counselors (all volunteers) are readily available when required. Most patients are admitted for end-of-life palliative care and pain management. Once their condition is stabilised or treatment of specific symptoms is completed, patients and their families may decide whether their remaining days are to be spent under the care of the nursing staff at the Hospice or at their homes.