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Transforming from a private home into a well-established hospice

Author: Shaun Thomas
26 October 2016
  • Left: Caregiver Right: Marilyn Burrow

Opening in 1989, Saint Teresa’s hospice was run from a private home and ever since has grown from strength to strength, eventually becoming one of the best known and respected hospices in Kimberley.

#HospiceVisits continues today as we chat with Marilyn Burrow who is currently the Hospice Manager.

Give us some insight and history into Saint Teresa’s Hospice?

Well, in 1994 Nazareth house kindly donated the plot to us to use and it was then built by and belongs to the Catholic Church. It has been given to us rent free, as long as we use it solely as a hospice for providing palliative care and not run it has a profit-making business.

At that time, we took patients in for free and did not charge them and unfortunately that had a negative impact on us, because we then had to close down the IPU (in-patient unit). “We” as the volunteers back then, all rallied around and made it our top priority to raise funds to reopen the IPU. We successfully managed that and two years later (1996) it was reopened and has not been closed since then.

In terms of logistics how exactly is your hospice run?

Currently we have 6 beds for frail care patients, 18 beds for adults and 6 beds for children. In terms of our home-based care team, we have 2 sisters and 13 girls who are currently looking after 300 patients in and around the surrounding areas in which we serve.

Wow, that’s fantastic to hear! How exactly did you find out about and get involved with Saint Teresa’s Hospice?

Before I started working at St Teresa’s in a full time capacity, I worked at a bank. The secretary at the time was very involved with the hospice and I distinctly remember there being an occasion when the hospice was having to raise funds. I told the secretary I would be more than willing to assist her with anything for the hospice. 16 years later, I am still here, and might I add really loving what I am doing!

In all your time here, growing from a volunteer to the Manager of the hospice currently, what for you has been the biggest success as well as the biggest problem?

Starting with the problems, I think it’s widely known that funding to keep a hospice or any NGO open is number one. Luckily, we have massive support from a lot of people and organisations in Kimberly and they really admire and appreciate the work that we do.

In terms of success – I think the fact that we have managed to stay open and enhance our really good reputation in Kimberly over the years has been a major success for me.

If you would like to get in touch with Marilyn and provide any type of support email her: marilynburrow@telkomsa.net

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