Giving palliative care a boost

Victoria Hospital’s palliative care team is R150 000 closer to establishing a legacy trust fund. Wynberg businessman Rashmi Kooverjee, middle, with, from left, Abundant Life head Dr Clint Cupido, Sister Veronique Easton, Dr Graeme Dunbar, and Abundant Life staff Charmaine Hendricks, Rosemary Williams, Jennifer Isaacs, Elizabeth de Klerk, and Andile Ndlovu. Picture: Janice Matthews

Victoria Hospital’s palliative care programme has received a R150 000 boost.

The money was raised by a Wynberg businessman, Rashmi Kooverjee, and an Ottery bakery.

Mr Kooverjee and the bakery have supported a project since October 2021 to sell festive fruit cakes with the aim of one day establishing a legacy trust to help fund Victoria Hospital’s palliative services, Abundant Life Palliative Care, headed by Dr Clint Cupido.

Dr Cupido said the programme had seen significant growth over the past 14 years.

“In our first year, we saw 35 patients; last year we saw over 700 patients. Previously five eighths of our nursing sister’s salary was funded by the hospital and the rest was funded through fund-raising. Today we have a full-time nursing sister, Sister Easton, who is employed by the hospital in a palliative care post. That is enormous progress.”

Since February, he added, the Hospice Palliative Care Association had been using their facility for palliative care training of nurses and social workers from various organisations.

Victoria Hospital funds the programme, but there’s a shortfall that needs to be covered by donations and fund-raising.

Mr Kooverjee said the goal was to raise half a million rand this year towards the legacy trust fund.

Andile Ndlovu, a sixth year UCT medical student doing his elective with Dr Cupido, said palliative care played an important role in medicine.

“It is more than just pain relief. Here, I’m seeing patients being treated spiritually and emotionally as well. Simple things such as shaving a patient or washing their feet just gives them their self-respect back that the patient may have lost due to their illness. Abundant Life has been very good with that.”

Dr Graeme Dunbar, Victoria Hospital’s clinical manager, thanked the community for supporting the hospital and encouraged the public to continue buying the cakes.

To place orders for the cakes, call 021 761 8341 or 021 762 2321.