NOTICE OF ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
LANGEBERG HOSPICE ASSOCIATION
To be held on 12 September 2019
at The Hideaway Guesthouse
at 17:30 hrs for 18:00 hrs.
KENNISGEWING VAN ALGEMENE JAARVERGADERING VAN DIE LANGEBERG HOSPICE VERENIGING
Wat op die 12 September 2019 gehou word
by The Hideaway Gastehuis
om 17:30 uur vir 18:00uur.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE LANGEBERG HOSPICE
The people of the greater Swellendam municipal area were asked in March 2007 if they needed, and wanted, a Hospice. A Hospice would provide home-based care for all the people in the community who were suffering from incurable terminal illnesses. The response was so positive that several public meetings were held at which senior personnel from St Luke’s Hospice, Cape Town and the Breede River Hospice, Robertson gave presentations on the “Palliative Care” that their hospices provided to their communities.
“Palliative Care” is defined as “The total holistic care of patients whose disease is no longer responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological, social and spiritual problems is paramount. The goal of palliative care is the achievement of the best quality of life for patients and their families.”
In choosing a name for the new Hospice we were advised to name it after a geographical area and not a town, as people in outlying areas might otherwise think that the Hospice served only the residents of that town. So the name “Langeberg Hospice” was selected. In July 2007 a committee was formed and charged with establishing the Langeberg Hospice, particularly with registering the Hospice as a Non-Profit Organisation with the Department of Social Development. The governmental bureaucracy at that time was somewhat stifling. It took us 18 months and 7 different submissions of our constitution to get eventual registration. The structure of our constitution includes portfolios of Clinical Services, Governance, Financial Sustainability, Community Liaison and Volunteer Co-ordination.
To be financially self-sustaining we had to find funds before we could employ nursing staff. We appealed for monetary donations and started collecting and selling second-hand clothing and any other goods. Initially we did this from the back of bakkies and at markets. A major headache was finding premises at a reasonable rental to store, sort and display the goods for sale. At one stage we were granted space in a storeroom behind the Fire Station with a very small window and no electric light. This was part of the Refuge for Abused Women operated by the SA Police Service.
Our next hurdle was to find a qualified and registered nursing sister who was willing to be trained in Palliative Care and who was willing to work for the salary we could afford to pay. While we were in the process of recruiting, we persuaded a retired matron from a local hospital to help us with our first few patients. Recruiting was difficult. To give an example, one of the applicants who appeared ideal on paper and who was already trained in palliative care joined us but resigned in less than a month, claiming that the work was too hard. We persevered and our Hospice nursing service has now been operating for more than 10 years.
In addition, we have a Respite Ward available to us at the Swellendam Hospital. This was established some years ago in conjunction with the Swellendam Lions. As a patient approaches the terminal phase of his or her life, the family taking care of that patient experiences tremendous stress. So to give the family some respite, the patient is moved into this ward for a week or so while the family regains its strength.
Back to the subject of fundraising: if you want to sell something, you must be in the right place. We eventually obtained a rented shop in the Ten Damme Mall, behind Spar, for selling our second-hand goods. Our income increased dramatically as our goods could be seen by passing pedestrians, a mixed blessing because pilfering also increased. The shop was manned by volunteers. Then came our big break which was the opportunity, in 2014, to move our shop into the Oefeningshuis on Voortrek Street. This has proved to be an excellent location. Business here has been so good that we have employed a store manager who, together with the volunteers, copes with the higher volume of sales and donations. We now even receive an occasional truckload of goods collected by the Cape Town Motor Cycle Club and delivered to our doorstep.
We meet our operating costs from the income derived from the shop. This would not be possible without the generous donations received from the Swellendam community or without our band of volunteers who give of their spare time to sort, price and sell the donated goods. The goods range from clothing and household goods to books, CDs, videos and a whole lot more. Our policy has been to accept anything that we can sell. We once even received several sets of false teeth! (I don’t think we ever found a buyer for them!)
Other fundraising activities have included selling bacon and egg rolls as well as books at local markets, selling pancakes on the stoep of the Spar, musical shows such as Not the Midnight Mass in 2011 and the Gugulethu Tenors in 2012, both held in the Swellendam Laerskool hall, an annual fashion parade of stock from the Hospice shop and a bridge drive. We have also received considerable help from Swellendam Rotary in buying medical equipment and meeting overhead expenditure. Our financial situation has gradually improved despite receiving no support from the State or the Lotto. Last year we were able to buy a vehicle for our nursing sister to use for visiting patients in their homes and to transport medical equipment when needed.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the registration of the Langeberg Hospice. The road has been rough but it will get smoother. The backbone of our service is our home-based palliative care to the community. We are planning to employ another nursing sister whom we will train in palliative care principles and who will help to reduce the heavy workload of our existing sister.
Making ends meet in the current economic climate is not easy. We continue to welcome donations of any goods that we can sell in our shop. Anyone who wishes to make a financial donation can do so by means of an EFT transaction to our bank account: Langeberg Hospice, Nedbank account no. 1184 635641, branch code 198765. Please give contact details as reference for purposes of a receipt.
J S Whybrow (John Whybrow is one of the founders and a past chairman of Langeberg Hospice. He remains on the Board in a non-executive capacity.)
7 August 2019