Community Volunteer Work
HAU utilises a variety of service delivery methods to reach patients in need; one is through community volunteer workers (CVWs). Due to the scarcity of health workers and the large number of patients in need, CVWs are important providers of health services, often ensuring patients who have no family or other carers are supported. CVWs are trained by HAU to provide patients with basic nursing care, including assessment, cleaning wounds, psychosocial support and referrals to appropriate health services. With their familiarity with the community CVWs ensure patients in need are found and supported. CVWs also do advocacy to ensure palliative care is understood by and embedded in the community. Those patients identified by CVWs in need of palliative care are referred to one of the three HAU hospices where they are assessed and either enrolled on to the Palliative Care programme or referred to a more appropriate provider. In order to ensure this highly successful way of reaching patients in need can continue it is important the funding gaps amounting to approx €6,910 for the year for this programme are addressed.
Currently funds are needed for the following gaps:
- Contribution to salary for HAU team members.
- Communication for CVW coordinator for support supervision.
- Transport facilitation for CVW to attend support supervision meetings.
- Facilitation for update meetings.
- Contribution to overhead costs.
|Funding activity||Approx Euros|
|Palliative care nurse salary||4,600|
|Communication for CVW coordinator for support supervision.||210|
|Transport facilitation for CVW to attend support supervision meetings.||150|
|Facilitation for update meetings.||1,090|
|Contribution to overhead costs.||860|
Frank was in his early 50s when I met him. His sister had been caring for him but had abandoned him; his daughter was estranged. He would have been forgotten by his community if not for Frank crying out in pain day and night. This was what brought a Hospice Africa Uganda community volunteer worker (CVW) to Frank. She found a man on his own, in a small room with no bed in immense, endless pain, a wound covered with flies and smelling foul. She found a man with cancer who had not slept in weeks and was barely conscious.
He was immediately referred to the Little Hospice Hoima team who gave him pain relief and cleaned his wound, ensuring that the smell was gone. His carers could return to care for him, as they wanted to. Frank slept for the first time in months and as weak as he was, he smiled.
I visited Frank 2 weeks later. He had been able to walk 800m to be closer to the family, powered only by his determination to be with them. The oral liquid morphine was keeping the pain at bay, but only just. Even in his struggle his smile was brilliant saying, “Thank you so much – you have sent angels to look after me”.
Frank only lived a couple more weeks but in that time he had the opportunity to eat a little of his favourite foods, laugh a little in the company of neighbours, friends and family, make peace with his daughter and come to terms with coming to the end of his life.