World Hospice Palliative Care Association theme for 2022 is healing hearts and communities


When a person has a terminal illness, palliative care is thought of as managing their journey through life while preserving some of their dignity and comfort. Palliation also covers broader ground.

As 8 October marked World Hospice Palliative Care Day. The Hospice Palliative Care Association (HPCA) highlights how this year’s awareness day is meaningful in light of the pandemic-filled years we’ve all endured, as well as the global socio-economic and political unrest.

This has resulted in unprecedented levels of global grief, and the World Hospice Palliative Care Association has declared that the theme for 2022 will be healing hearts and communities.

Dr. Aslam Dasoo, the HCPA’s board chairman explains how palliative care is also a field of medical and psycho-social science. It provides society with knowledge about the broader need for palliative care for patients with terminal illnesses.

Dr Aslam Dasoo, HCPA’s board chairman. Picture supplied

According to Tersia Burger, vice-chairperson of the HPCA Board, palliative care is holistic care that spans much more than just a single discipline.

“We treat the symptoms and manage the pain of patients who have been diagnosed with life-limiting illnesses, as well as providing spiritual and emotional support to both the patient and their family. Our multidisciplinary team includes skilled professionals such as social workers and licensed physicians and nurses,” she told IOL Lifestyle.

Tersia Burger, vice-chairman of the HPCA Board. Picture supplied.

Burger, describes palliative care as “holistic care” that “spans much more than just a single discipline. We look after the symptoms and pain management of patients who have been diagnosed with life-limiting disease, we do spiritually care emotional care not only for the patient but also for the family. Our multidisciplinary team includes skilled professionals such as social workers and licensed physicians and nurses.”

Burger told IOL Lifestyle that there is this misconception that palliative care is only used for end-of-life treatment.

“With proper pain and symptom management, patients are eventually released from the hospital since their conditions improved and what was once terminal is now chronic because of technological advancements.”

She says palliative care is specialised care, and that the inability to pay does not necessarily prevent entry into the programme. “A lot of medical aids pay for our services, and we mostly fund-raise because, at the end of the day, the staff has to earn salaries.”

She warns that people need to be cognisant of places that claim to be hospices, and that in order to be a member of the HPCA, you must follow specific regulations, be accredited, and uphold a certain standard of professionalism.

“Sadly we reside in a country with significant crime, and regrettably, the elderly are the most vulnerable and unfortunately we’re not a priority.”

“Our website has detailed information as to where to find a hospice.”

“We don’t ask people for cash donations. If you find yourself in that situation, it’s best to ask for proof of accreditation while you’re asking for proof of banking details.

“There’s a scam now where people call and say we’re fundraising for hospice, our team is in the area can we come and pick up a donation from you,” Our website is the only way to check for the legitimacy of hospices, Burger says.

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