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Changing perceptions around hospice and palliative care

Author: Shaun Thomas
27 June 2017
  • Joy Ruwodo

This week as part of #HospiceVisits we highlight HospiceWits. HospiceWits is an organisation that embodies the concept of “living”, offering high quality care and support to hopeful families in their compassionate environment.

They are not a place where ‘people go to die’ – on the contrary, they encourage those who need them to live their lives to the fullest. No one is turned away, regardless of age, race, religion or financial circumstances. There’s no end to their caring.

We had a chat with Joy Ruwodo | Marketing & Fundraising manager for HospiceWits who shed some light on the workings of HospiceWits, some highlights and challenges in her role.

Background

Joy comes from a corporate background and has a good formal education having studied at Rhodes University as well as obtaining a BCom and MBA at the Wits Business School. After her corporate experience her journey brought her to HospiceWits where she has been employed for 6 years.

Experience at HospiceWits

When reviewing the 6 years that she has been at HospiceWits, Joy made special mention of the word passion and how it has grown so much in her and for her job. To see how the work of her organisation encourages development in the community and uplifts people/individuals has been such a highlight for her. The feeling of contributing to something bigger than one’s self is what drives Joy and adds to her passion.

Hospice & Palliative care

Palliative care is something that Joy was previously not very aware of, but now she understands it fully and has witnessed first-hand the benefit to those who experience it. Palliative care for her should be a basic human right. Everyone should have access to it, because it is something that she has realised in her own experience as so beneficial for those who have come to experience it.

Talking of personal experience, the biggest challenge for Joy has been the perception of hospice and the care that is actually provided. There are many incorrect perceptions of hospice, with the biggest one being the view that it’s just about death or the end of life.

While end of life is part of what we do, we have a whole lot more to offer with a good number of our patients being discharged to recuperate in the home setting under the supervision and support of our home care team. Invariably, most of our patients wish they had known sooner about the high quality care and support that they can receive from us. Joy strongly believes that more of the success stories need to be shared.

She added that people believe hospice is only needed or only looked at as the “last resort” or as the “end”, and that for her is the biggest and saddest challenge.

Early engagement  

Joy commented on the journey one should experience with hospice. For her, early engagement with palliative care is vital so that the holistic and multi-disciplinary care is effective. However, should early engagement not be possible and if death occurs, HospiceWits still has the structures in place to support and deal with the bereaved families.

Joy and her team in the marketing department of HospiceWits are doing amazing work and if you would like to find out more and get involved with the various projects they have running, please click here or email them on info@hospicewits.co.za

See more articles in Opinion

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