Victoria Hospital has opened a brand-new palliative care service centre.
The Abundant Life Palliative Care Centre was officially opened on Friday October 11 to coincide with World Hospice and Palliative Care Day which is celebrated annually on October 12.
Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Health MEC, opened the new centre to go with this year’s theme for World Hospice and Palliative Day: “It’s my right, It’s my care”.
Dr Mbombo praised the efforts of medical staff, NGOs, partner organisations, community-based workers and all stakeholders who worked effortlessly to ensure that every patient of the Department of Health has the right to palliative care and to be treated with dignity.
“It is imperative that we raise awareness and ensure that our health staff are able to respond with empathy and care to all patients in our system. This new palliative care service centre at Victoria Hospital will provide patients with the opportunity to to manage their possible life-threatening condition in an empowering and dignified manner,” said Dr Mbombo.
The project was initiated 10 years ago by Dr Clint Cupido as a patient-centered approach that aimed to improve the quality of life of patients and their families facing the challenges associated with life-threatening illness.
The centre will provide much-needed office space for staff, counselling rooms, space for group sessions and meetings, training space for nurses, doctors and volunteers, host events and bereavement services.
Dr Cupido said palliative care requires specific training, understanding and emotional capacity to deal with very sick patients, who are vulnerable, in a difficult time of the cycle of life.
“Importantly these patients do not merely come as individuals but they are members of a family and a community that need to be nurtured through this time in their life. The opening of the Abundant Life Palliative Care Centre marks the start of a new era in the roll out of palliative care withing the public health care service,” he said.
The department offers palliative care as well as curative care – meaning it is extended to those with serious conditions, for example renal failure, cancer or resistant TB.