Palliative Care Day at Victoria Hospital

Victoria Hospital cleaning staff who danced for visitors at the event, are, front from left, Louise Minnaar, Geraldine Adams and Mandy Grace. At the back are, Maggie Meyer, Yolanda Joseph, Charlene Moses and June Davids.

Victoria Hospital held its first open day on Saturday October 8 to coincide with World Hospice Palliative Care Day, and it was a resounding success.

Dr Liz Gwyther, chief executive officer of Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa, was the guest speaker.

She said palliative care should be provided alongside curative care for all chronic or life-threatening illness. “It’s a model of care that can be replicated at other district hospitals in South Africa so congratulations to Victoria Hospital, Dr Clint Cupido and the Abundant Life team for leading the way,” said Dr Gwyther.

Often family members do not have the capacity to take care of a terminally ill patient. They are also not aware that the palliative care service is available via Victoria Hospital.

Visitors had the opportunity to meet the doctors and nurses and to find out what services are provided at this community hospital. Magicians from the Magic School in Claremont entertained children, and adults, and there was face painting, a jumping castle, music, dancing and stalls were on offer to those who visited the open day while Victoria Hospital staff also offered tours of the hospital. Friends of the hospital sold plants, food and drinks to raise much needed funds for the centre.

The Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO), a student-run NGO based at the University of Cape Town, offered free cholesterol, sugar, body mass index, HIV and blood pressure testing.

With his nebuliser standing by, Archie van Gees vividly described his recent episode of heart failure, being rushed to the hospital by ambulance when he pulled off the road with pain in his chest and difficulty in breathing. He has been living with diabetes for 25 years and spoke of the emotional support he has received at Victoria Hospital. Mr Van Gees donated a sound system and his expertise in managing the sound for the open day.

Cupcakes for Kids with Cancer also made a substantial donation to Abundant Life.

The theme for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is: “Living and dying in pain: it doesn’t have to happen”.

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