Drakenstein Palliative Hospice: Meet Laurika Beukes

We had a chat with Laurika Beukes, a social worker by profession with both an honours degree in psychology and a degree in social work. She explains to us her ‘key’ role at Drakenstein palliative hospice as the interdisciplinary care coordinator and how it all ties up with palliative care and end of life care for the patient.

In general most hospices employ a professional nurse as a patient care manager since palliative care is usually nursing led however at Drakenstein, palliative care embrace an interdisciplinary approach, which opens the door for a social worker to actually co-ordinate and facilitate the process of patient care.The patient remains the head of the team and therefore the patient’s voice is of most importance.

By applying such a concept – how does it work?   care which includes the impeccable assessment of physical, psycho-social, spiritual and cultural needs.  The nurse’s primary focus is to assess and address the physical pain and symptoms of a patient. 

People are under the impression that palliative care is just about the physical aspect however it is much more than that and she ensures that once the physical pain is managed that the holistic aspects of palliative care then follow suite.

Often a social workers voice is one that is not equal to the nurses however at Drakenstein palliative hospice the social worker takes the leading role. By taking the leading role the social worker deals with the aspects from the receipt and allocation of the referral throughout the implementation of patient care and bereavement support. Teamwork and communication is paramount to the provision of quality patient care.

Laurika loves what she does and often stated she would not change her job for anything else.  In a country with a history like South Africa, she loves the equitable nature of the work since Drakenstein palliative hospice provides services to the richest of the rich and to the poorest of the poor – keeping in mind that the same good quality of service is provided in both aspects.

“An experienced and diverse staff compliment, is key to the success of Drakenstein Palliative Hospice.” – stated Laurika.

She has been a proud member of Drakenstein palliative hospice for just over two years. If you would like to know more about Drakenstein hospice visit them at: www.drakensteinhospice.org.za/