Experiencing the journey of a home-based carer

In today’s article we reflect on the journey of two home-based carers at Stellenbosch Hospice. 

 Jaqueline Gordon and Theresa Pylman, who show an admirable amount of compassion and sympathy through their work. Through their day to day journey and work schedule we were able to experience first-hand what a home-based carer is and how they provide palliative care in their respective patients’ homes.

What is a home-based carer? Well, home-based care can include a variety of activities such as nursing care, rehabilitation services (for example, physical therapy), assistance with activities of daily living, assistance with housekeeping, chores and meal preparation, or assistance with activities to maintain health such as taking medication.

On average a home-based carer can visit up to 5 patients a day (it varies with each hospice). That depends on the areas they are working in and the number of patients they are dedicated to. On this occasion the home-based carers let us experience three of their patients in the area they work in.

From a first-hand experience one notices immediately the amount of respect that is given to the home-based carers wherever they go. The ‘sisters’ as they are also known in the community know the areas they work in very well, and who the people are and vice versa. The people in the community greet them with big smiles and open hearts and that was one of the many things that struck me personally.

It struck me because it showed that the people and families that they serve in the community are extremely grateful for their services, and because of this, a lot of warmth is given to them.

The sisters are always positive about their job and journey, they value their patients as if they are family and compassion is something engraved in their hearts.

Every patient that the sisters visit greets them with a big smile. For me it came across as if experiencing the care and compassion shown by the home-based carers was the highlight of their day. That in itself speaks volumes about the great work home-based carers provide and especially in the form of Jaqueline Gordon and Theresa Pylman from Stellenbosch Hospice.

From our visits to the patients’ homes, I picked up immediately that the patients and the home-based carers have an extremely good relationship and a lot of trust is built between them. The carers always leave their patients’ homes with a smile on their face and the patients always feel grateful that they were able to get the assistance and palliative care that they need, in the comfort of their own home.

On average, Jaqueline and Theresa Pylman visit three patients a day. Depending on the seriousness of their patients some are visited more than once a week, at times every day, to make sure that medication is being taken and that the patients are staying as healthy as possible and comfortable.

We take our hats off to Stellenbosch hospice and especially their home-based carers for the way they have touched so many people’s lives with whom they work and the amount of love and compassion they show to their patients on a day to day basis.

There is an ever growing need for home-based care and the importance of hospice needs to be brought to the attention of relevant influential people, because in essence what they do is to keep patients out of hospitals by providing palliative care in their homes and they do so quite effectively as you can see. Hospices are saving the Department of Health money and bed space which is an important factor to take out of the essence of what hospice and palliative care is about, and especially home-based care.

If you would like to find out more about Stellenbosch Hospice visit their website: