HAU utilises a variety of service delivery methods to reach patients in need; one is through the patient day care programme.
Patients who are invited to day care are often mobile but in need of consultations, reviews, medication refills, skills trainings, reflexology, counselling and a nutritious meal. The change in environment allows patients an opportunity to be with other people going through similar challenges, building a support system and ensure psychosocial support is available. This programme also serves to offer respite for carers as patients are at HAU, carers are afforded a day to conduct other business. On average about 240 patients attend day cares across the three HAU hospices every month.
The overall gap in this area is approximately €14,710
The current areas affected by this shortfall are:
- Contribution to remuneration of HAU Palliative Care team members.
- Providing patients with lunch and tea.
- Vehicle costs for transporting patients from their homes to day care.
- Contribution to administrative costs.
|Social worker salary||8,570|
|Support staff salary||2,350|
|Providing patients with lunch and tea.||930|
|Vehicle costs for transporting patients from their homes to day care||1,290|
|Contribution to administrative costs.||1,570|
“Imagine having only a six-year old girl, who is your daughter, as your main care-giver! I was bed-bound due to severe pain and had a skin rash like that of a frog. I had been deserted by everyone except my 6-year old daughter. People were calling me a ‘mad’ woman, worthless and waiting to die and be buried. Life was too hard for me before Hospice came to my rescue.” This are the words of Mary (not her real name) describing her life before she was referred to Little Hospice Hoima (LHH), a satellite Hospice of HAU in early January 2011.
Mary, a middle-aged lady, was referred to LHH by Hoima Regional Referral Hospital at a critical time in her life for pain and symptom management. She presented with full-blown AIDS, and was very distressed due to the severe headache from cryptococcal meningitis which is a serious opportunistic infection associated with HIV. Mary was vomiting frequently and could hold down neither food nor medications. The generalized skin rash with several dark spots all over her skin had been recognized by the community as a marker of HIV so many in her village shunned her. There was much discrimination because of Mary’s illness and she suffered self-stigma.
The multi-disciplinary team at LHH immediately started Mary on medications to manage her severe pain, control her symptoms and support her through her illness. She was regularly reviewed at her home in the village since she was initially very ill. HAU gave her food so that she could benefit maximally from the ante retroviral medications she had started. Because her pain and symptoms were controlled Mary was able to sleep soundly for the first time in weeks. Within 6 months Mary’s meningitis had been controlled, her skin had cleared of rash, and her quality of life had remarkably improved.
Mary is currently living positively with HIV, is free from pain and has steadily gained weight. She was well enough to start coming as an out-patient at LHH and to the Day Care where she is a source of much encouragement to patients who were unwell or struggling to come to terms with their HIV diagnosis.
From the intervention of the PC team Mary was able to re-contact with the family which had abandoned her for the grave. She reunited with her estranged husband and relatives have returned to her home. Her husband renewed his vows with her in a lovely well-attended ceremony where the LHH team was represented. Mary is currently a district councillor representing a division in Hoima Municipality. She continues to be an example in the community through living positively with HIV and talking about how HAU assisted her to overcome the problems she imagined were insurmountable.
Mary allowed HAU to use her testimony because she wants to share her story of hope. She came through an extremely difficult period but with the support of HAU she has regained her position in her family and community. Mary’s life was turned around because HAU received the financial support needed to conduct Palliative Care for her when she was ill at home and which continues for her as an outpatient.