“We celebrate National Hospice Week from May 7-13 this year which got me thinking… if there is just one thing I could share to help a fellow community member, what would that be?” says Jonquil Siepman, marketing and liaison for Hospice East Rand.
Most people believe that hospice and palliative care are required at the end of one’s life. This assumption is far from the truth.
Palliative care is an active, holistic approach to caring for individuals across all ages with serious health-related suffering due to a severe illness. The principal aim of palliative care is to provide relief of physical, psychosocial and spiritual symptoms associated with your illness. We aim to control pain and other complex symptoms so that a patient can remain as comfortable as possible and enjoy a good quality of life.
“I sat with our two doctors, Dr Nosisa Matsiliza and Dr Jesne Kistan at Hospice East Rand to help debunk palliative care related myths,” shares Jonquil.
“It’s a common misconception that palliative care means giving up, says Dr Matsiliza. Actually, it’s about living life to the fullest despite your condition! Critical to our team are experienced social workers who help the patient and family cope with the emotional impact of the serious illness diagnosis. Even if you’re receiving treatments that aim to cure or reverse your illness, you can still benefit from palliative care.”
Dr Matsiliza explains that palliative care helps manage your pain and other symptoms, especially during your treatment programme. This can help you fight your disease more effectively. She shares an interesting fact that studies show those who receive palliative care live longer and have a higher quality of life than those who do not receive palliative care.
“Living with a serious illness can be difficult, especially when it comes to managing complex and distressing symptoms. That’s where palliative care comes in. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for patients living with serious illnesses,” Dr Kistan says. “Our palliative care services are available to patients admitted to hospitals as well as ill patients in the comfort of their homes. We work alongside oncologists, physicians, neurologists, surgeons, intensivists, nurses, and other clinical teams to ensure the best possible care for our patients.”
Our approach with palliative care means we don’t just care for our patients, but we support their families and caregivers as well. We provide a holistic range of services to support patients throughout their illness. These include pain management and symptom control, psychosocial support and spiritual support.
Our role also supports other doctors and specialists as we have trained experience in complex pain management and symptom control. As a team, we assist patients with day to day medical and psychological support and where necessary, assist in breaking bad news, advanced care planning, and end-of-life care coordination. Our experienced and compassionate team help patients navigate difficult health decisions and ensure their wishes regarding their care are upheld.
Add to that, in most cases, medical aid patients can rest assured that their palliative care benefit is different from their oncology or advanced illness benefit which makes all the difference.
Whether you’re a patient, doctor or specialist, Hospice East Rand provides the support you need every step of your journey. For more information about how Hospice East Rand can help you or your patients living with serious illnesses please visit www.hospiceeastrand.co.za or call us on 0114221531.