Care and compassion

istock_000027960424xlargeWe asked Helderberg Hospice to give us an overview of their services so that our readers could get a better understanding of how the hospice and palliative care system works.  South Africa has a number of hospice and palliative care units. For a list, click here

Helderberg Hospice

Our team of dedicated Palliative Care trained Nursing Sisters form the basis of our palliative care service. We work in an interdisciplinary team, including our part time doctor, social workers, volunteers, and other relevant role players to provide optimal holistic care to each and every one of our patients.

We encourage patients faced with a life-threatening illness to ask their doctor to refer them to us as early as possible, preferably when diagnosed. All referrals come through the nursing services manager’s office and a nurse will be allocated depending on the residential area in which the patient lives.

After doing a first assessment, the patient’s exact needs are identified and all the team players are involved. Our focus as palliative care specialists is to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. As there are many problems associated with life-threatening illness, including symptom control, physical, psychosocial and spiritual issues, these all need to be addressed by our team. The relief of suffering is our main goal and is addressed immediately.

With breast cancer we also focus our attention on the loss of dignity and sexual attraction which has an emotional impact on our patients. We therefore advise on choices available regarding prostheses, wigs, etc. Our nursing department consists of a home care unit, and an in patient unit, which work interactively and interdependently to provide holistic, patient centred care.

Home Care Unit

We have a team of six sisters, who currently care for 150 patients in their own homes. These medical professionals work with patients to help them cope with any and all aspects of their lives, from the side effects of treatment such as constipation, nausea, etc, to emotional issues such as depression, and practical issues. Patients and their families are holistically supported throughout the progress of the patient’s disease. This includes helping them to come to terms with the emotional, spiritual and practical issues. Sometimes symptoms are not well controlled, the patient or the family needs temporary respite, and the patient is admitted to the in patient unit for a maximum stay of fourteen days.

In Patient Unit

The unit consists of 10 beds which are continuously in use with a high occupancy rate. The IPU is a 24hour facility and our nurses work shifts to ensure optimum care. Our fully staffed unit addresses every need of all concerned. We provide pain and symptom management, control of medication, and counselling support for the patient and family in a controlled environment. Our doctor does ward rounds on a Tuesday and Thursday morning, and is part of our interdisciplinary team which meets every Tuesday, where all patients and their care is discussed in detail. Continuous in-service training keeps all staff well trained in order to optimise our palliative care.

Education and training is an integrated part of our Hospice and all members are exposed to discussion forums and external courses to be able to function at their very best. Taking care of the carer with debriefing sessions and teambuilding sessions are also high on our priority list.

Patient care enquiries can be dealt with by a professional nurse in the In Patient Unit 24 hours per day.

Please call us at +27 (0) 21 852 4608.
Email :
Website :
Facebook :
Twitter :



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s