Zululand Hospice offers counselling services for families in need

For many, the thought of having to deal with the death of a loved one is something very foreign, but for those with friends and family members in hospice it is an everyday reality that never gets easier. The Hospice –sector aims to highlight the importance of effective partnerships between family members and hospice is vital to the provision of quality care for patients and their family members.

Pearl Mphuthi, FNB Fund Manager says, “Most people know that Hospice is a place where people with life threatening illnesses can have quality of life and dignity in death, but not a lot of people are aware of the counselling support available for those with loved ones at hospice.”

The FNB Fund, has supported Hospices in South Africa for a number of years. One of these is the Zululand Hospice in KwaZulu-Natal where Sister Jane Ashburner, Palliative Care Programme Coordinator, helps to support patients and their families.

Zululand Hospice offers support in the form of spiritual, religious and social counselling to family members of patients if they request it. “We offer counselling services for the family of patients because we believe it’s as important as caring for the patient. It is very difficult and sad, as well as emotionally and physically exhausting to look after someone with a terminal illness. Our counsellors are there to help deal with the needs of patients and their families in their adjustment to the illness and the dying process,” says Sister Jane Ashburner, Zululand Hospice

She adds that “often people just need someone to talk to, so they’re welcome to receive counselling at hospice, or one of our councillors can visit them at home. Our counsellors are professional and enrolled nurses, as well as caregivers.”

Ashburner says “that counselling services at Hospice is free and after the death of a loved one, family members can still make use of bereavement counselling if they wish to”. She urges professionals such as nurses, counsellors or psychologists who would like to offer their services, to contact their local Hospice to find out what they can do.

“The work of Hospice is never-ending and counselling services carried out by those committed to helping patients and their loved ones during a difficult transition help to make a difficult situation a little more bearable,” concludes Ashburner.

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