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FUELLING PALLIATIVE CARE CENTRES

September 17, 2023 | Press Releases

World Hospice Palliative Care Day takes place on 14 October 2023. This year the theme is Compassionate Communities: Together for Palliative Care.

The former Hospice Palliative Care Association, now the Association of Palliative Care Centres (APCC) is using the day to raise funds for fuel for their members, many of whom refer to themselves as hospices.

“APCC’s members work alongside compassionate communities that multiply their ability to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in our communities,” says Ewa Skowronska, CEO of the APCC. “Anyone given a life-threatening diagnosis should have access to the care and support required to navigate their journey – whether that be curative or end-of-life.”

In South Africa, most palliative care services are offered via APCC members. They are non-profit organisations and reliant on fund-raising for their sustainability.

“90% of these services are provided in patient’s homes by home-based caring teams that provide holistic support to people diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and their loved ones,” says Leigh Meinert, Advocacy & Operations Manager of the APCC. “Rising fuel costs are impacting on APCC members ability to travel to and from patient’s homes.”

“Fuel is essential in our daily lives,” says Comfort Kagiso, the Fundraiser at Tshupe Hospice in Rustenburg. “It is used for various applications, including transportation. When there is no money for petrol, the care team at Tshupe Hospice in Rustenburg set off on foot to the nearby townships such of Yizo -Yizo, Lefaragatlhe, Geelhout and Karlienpark which are up to 5kms away. Another consequence of not having money for fuel is that we are unable to transport patients that need it to the clinic or local hospital, which is 9kms away.”

APCC members service both patients who have private healthcare support as well as those that do not. “In the latter cases, the cost is borne by our member organization and funds for something such as fuel for transport or a generator are not easy to raise,” says Meinert.

“Our staff do not feel safe when they are travelling on foot,” says Kagiso, “but they are committed to their patients, so they take these risks nonetheless.”

Palliative care covers conditions such as HIV/AIDS, drug-resistant TB, chronic respiratory diseases, cardiovascular and neuromuscular diseases, MND and more. “Both adults and children are catered for,” says Meinert, “and their loved ones are just as important, with psychosocial and spiritual support provided to all those impacted by the diagnosis. Through to bereavement support. The home-based care teams fulfill a vital role in the palliative care process, and we wish to support them in the most practical way we can.”

To donate, please visit: https://bit.ly/3ZqViyD. All proceeds will be divided equally amongst APCC’s 91 members across the country.

ABOUT THE APCC

Previously known as the Hospice Palliative Care Association (HPCA), the Association of Palliative Care Centres (APCC) is a registered NPO in South Africa. Founded in 1987, the (now) APCC is a member organization for palliative care service providers, many of whom refer to themselves as hospices. As a national charity, the Association champions and supports 91 member organisations that provide palliative care services to approximately 40,000 people per year. APCC’s members are located across South Africa and care for patients with a variety of life-threatening conditions, predominantly in the comfort of their own homes.

About palliative care

Palliative care is the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual care provided by an inter-disciplinary team of experts to anyone with a life-threatening illness and their loved ones. Care is offered from the point of diagnosis and extends to bereavement support if needed. APCC members typically have a team that includes a medical doctor, professional nurse, social worker, counsellor and home-based carers. All staff are trained in palliative care, which aims to ensure a good quality of life for patients and to prevent and relieve unnecessary suffering.