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About St Bernard's Hospice

St Bernard's Hospice

St Bernard’s Hospice provides palliative care to patients (adult and children) diagnosed with a life threatening illness such as Cancer, Motor Neuron Disease, HIV/AIDS, Multi Drug Resistant TB, etc and support to their families in their homes. On admitting a patient to St Bernard’s Hospice’s, we adopt the whole family and therefore do not only care for the patient.

Palliative care is a holistic approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing  problems associated with life-threatening illnesses, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification, impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual care.

Is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complication.

We use a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families to provide the following services, including bereavement counselling, if indicated;

    • Relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;

    • Affirm life and regards dying as a normal process;
    • Intend neither to hasten or postpone death;
    • Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care;
    • Offer a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
    • Offer a support system to help the family cope during the patients illness and in their own bereavement;
    • Will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness.

Palliative Care for Children (Paediatric Palliative Care)

Palliative care for children represents a special, albeit closely related field to adult palliative care.

Palliative care for children is the active total care of the child's body, mind and spirit, and also involves giving support to the family.

It begins when illness is diagnosed, and continues regardless of whether or not a child receives treatment directed at the disease.

Health providers evaluate and alleviate a child's physical, psychological, and social distress.

Effective palliative care requires a broad multidisciplinary approach that includes the family and makes use of available community resources; it can be successfully implemented even if resources are limited.

It can be provided in tertiary care facilities, in community health centres and even in children's homes.


St Bernard's Hospice plans for restructuring their operation in East London

A spokesperson for St Bernard’s hospice yesterday spoke about their plans to adapt their services to better meet the changing needs for community palliative care in East London.

St Bernard’s Hospice was first established in East London in 1991. Originally the focus of the hospice was exclusively on providing care and compassionate support to cancer sufferers and their families at their 8 bed in-patient unit in Southernwood.

During 1995 the palliative care service offered by the Hospice was expanded, with the establishment of a home care program, extending services to distressed communities throughout the East London area.

St Bernard’s Hospice today is one of the most highly regarded and respected institutions in the city, with numerous testimonies to the love and respect shown to patients and families in their times of need.

The hospice has an active Board and management team who involve all stakeholders in their strategic planning process.

There is five year strategic plan in place, which is reviewed and updated annually to ensure that it continues to understand and respond to the changing needs of the community.

There has been a national trend in recent years towards nursing cancer patients in their own home environment. Most patients prefer to be treated at home in familiar circumstances and surrounded by their family.

This has resulted in a significant decline in patient numbers being admitted to the in-patient unit, and an increase in demand for high quality palliative home care. In response to this trend, and because of the high fixed costs associated with keeping the facility open for so few patients, the Board of St Bernard’s hospice has made the decision to close the in-patient unit later this year. 

The resulting annual savings from this closure will enable them to expand their home care palliative program providing better, more frequent home call coverage, and increasing the number of patients they are able to support each month.

The closure of the in-patient unit will follow a well-developed plan to ensure there is minimal impact on the staff and patients.

It is important that the public know St Bernard’s Hospice will continue to operate as usual in the city. The changes proposed are designed to ensure the East London community continues to receive the most efficient and effective comprehensive support.

Current programs offered by St Bernard’s Hospice:

  • Direct holistic patient care to approximately 300 patients per month, who have been diagnosed with a life- threatening illness and emotional support to families in their homes, including children.
  • Care and support to 160 Orphans and Vulnerable children (OVC’s)
  • MDR TB (Multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis)
  • Training (HWSETA accredited home based care training & Introduction to Palliative Care
  • Health Strengthening through strategic partnerships

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PO Box 11180
Southernwood, 5213

44 St Marks Rd, Southernwood
East London, 5210

Non Profit Registration Number 004-127 NPO
Registered as public benefit organization
Tax Exemption 18 A reference number
PBO No: 18/11/13/3162
Incorporated under Section 21
Registration No. 91/02129/08
Practice No. 7900236

Telephone: (043) 721 0051
Facsimile: (043) 721 0052
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