2018 - A year filled with challenges and opportunities
It is a well-known fact that Hospice has been shown to greatly improve the quality of life for patients and families near the end of life. Studies have consistently demonstrated that hospice is associated with reduction of symptoms of distress, improved outcomes for caregivers and high patient and family satisfaction. Despite evidence proving that continuous hospice use reduces the use of hospital-based services - including emergency department visits and intensive care unit stays - and the likelihood of death in the hospital, hospice services are still not paid for by government or the majority medical aids.
This fact, combined with new challenges such as the significant changes that are taking place in how medical related services are delivered and paid for in South Africa, as well as corporate downsizing, led to 2018 being one of our most difficult years since inception.
When Stepping Stone Hospice patient Oscar Mashau passed away in July this year, his eldest son was heartbroken - not only because he lost his father, but also because he lost his dream of ever visiting Carnival City. The thing is, he explained to one of the hospice's psycho-social councellors, Ruby Evrard, his dad promised that he will take him and his little sister to Carnival City in December where they can celebrate their respective birthdays. Amu turned 13 on the 8th of November and little Blessings will turn 6 on the 18th December.
Donation could not come at a better time
The culmination of their fundraising efforts throughout the year saw The Club 140 Golf group handing over a cheque to the value of R50 000 to Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services during the prize-giving of their annual end-of-year Golf Day at Observatory Golf Club on Saturday 24 November.
"Every patient deserves a comfortable bed and even more so when they embark on their end-of-life journey. This is one of the most important aspects of the care we provide and a philosophy we carry through to not just our In-Patient Unit patients, but also to our community patients," says Tersia Burger, CEO at Stepping Stone Hospice. "We are therefore eternally grateful to Vitafoam for the wonderful donation of 25 hospital mattresses as part of their corporate social responsibility programme," says Tersia.
A multi-purpose hygiene shower chair allowing clinical staff to provide sensitive, high-quality hygiene care whilst maintaining the patient's dignity, was recently donated to Stepping Stone Hospice by the Känguru Institute for the Disabled in Klipriver.
The Känguru Institute is supported by the German non-profit company IFB Inklusion durch Förderung und Betreuung e.V. Its owner, Wolfgang Groh, visited Stepping Stone Hospice a few months ago whilst on a visit to South Africa. He was so impressed with what he saw, that he invited Stepping Stone Hospice CEO, Tersia Burger, to participate in an exchange programme whereby skills and knowledge can be exchanged to the betterment of palliative care on a national and international level.
October 2018 not only marks World Hospice & Palliative Care Day, celebrated on Saturday 13 October, but also five years since Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services opened its In-Patient Unit in New Market Park on Wednesday the 9th October 2013.
And now, adding to the list of October milestones, is the pouring of the concrete today of the 78 pillars that will hold the extension of the In-Patient Unit in New Market Park.
World Hospice & Palliative Care Day, this year being celebrated on Saturday October 13, is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world.
The theme this year 'Because I Matter', centres on the lived experience of people affected by serious illness, looking at what matters most, including the often-overlooked financial impact of palliative care needs on individuals and households. The theme also contains elements of human rights and justice, asking: If I matter, then why am I not getting the care I need?
So many wonderful, wonderful people out there are reaching out to us, helping us to continue to do the work we do. On Thursday last week, the "Vat jou Goed en Trek" television crew paid us a vist, not only to interview both Sister Sheryl Newman, head of clincial services, and Marietjie Tame, our marketing and fundraising manager, but to also donate some much needed items towards the renovation of our planned extension of the In-Patient Unit. The "Vat jou Goed en Trek" television programme will launch it's fourth season this coming Friday, October 5 on KykNET (DSTV) channel 144. This series is a 13-episode reality lifestyle show on helping people to sell their homes. The head of their construction team, Kevin Brider, lost his mom in our Unit in July this year and he vowed to help us in any way that he possibly can. To Kevin and the crew, thank you, thank you, thank you!
It's all systems go for the planned extension of the Stepping Stone Hospice's In-Patient Unit in New Market Park and if all goes according to plan, renovations to the 435sqm, second-hand park home can start at the end of October.
The combined efforts of Kim Scanell from Grayston Travel, Russell Cruickshank from Cornerstone Projects, Thersea Corrigan from SCS Architects, Francois du Plooy, a town and regional planner, and a fantastic team of sponsors and donors will see the In-Patient Unit extend from an 8-bed to a 14-bed unit.
With the closing date for entries now firmly behind us, Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services is proud to announce that we have a total of 94 cyclists who will ride for us in the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge on Sunday, 18 November, the Mountain Bike Challenge on 11 November and the Kiddies Ride on 10 November 2018.
“The light came on – we realised just how important it is to see the patient as a whole person, and to include the genograms - a pictorial display of a person's family relationships and medical history - in caring for the residents in our homes,” says Colette Jansen van Vuuren, nursing services manager at the Rynpark Association for the Elderly in Benoni.
“Big Top Rock” is the biggest, most entertaining and daring show ever produced by The Barnyard Theatres and Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services is giving you the opportunity to experience this show first-hand!
The Barnyard Theatre Emperors Palace has allocated a number of seats for the show on Sunday 28 October to Stepping Stone Hospice to sell as part of the hospice’s on-going fundraising initiatives. A rock concert to remember featuring live music, aerial acts, funky dance routines and an electrical atmosphere awaits you at only R170 per ticket.
"The memorial on Sunday gave me a sense of closure and relief as my father donated his body to WITS University, so we never had a body or ashes. Being able to throw sand onto the buried capsules and release balloons was an incredibly emotional but cathartic experience. I also had a chance to say goodbye to my dear friend, Tracy as until Sunday I could not bear to let her go. She never came to terms with dying. Having the special caregivers there for support and so many other people who shared in the day meant so much to me. Thank you for all the hard work and thought that went into this behind the scenes. "
- Lynn Holmes
The newly established Stepping Stone Hospice Centre for Palliative Learning (CPL) was recently invited to give a one hour introduction and overview on Loss and Bereavement to 75 medical students currently on the Moshal Scholarship Programme.
Established in 2009 by Martin Moshal, the Moshal Scholarship Program currently provides scholarships to over 909 Moshal Scholars in Israel, South Africa and the Ukraine to enable determined young people from challenging backgrounds to attend the top universities in their home countries.
A Flip-flop civvies day on 28 March 2018 at Glenanda Primary led to two laptops and a cash donation of R2120 handed over to Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services recently.
The Foundation Phase Head of Department and also the coordinator of the different fundraising event at the school this year, Mrs Barbara Joseph, visited Stepping Stone Hospice to hand over the wonderful gifts to Tersia Burger, CEO of Stepping Stone Hospice and Sonia Thomson, head of HR at Stepping Stone. "I suggested to the grade 2 group that we support Stepping Stone Hospice this year as I recognized the good work they did when my sister-in-law, Carol Durocher-Yvon, passed away there on 21 September 2017. Although she was only there for three days, she was made to feel comfortable in her last few days. For this, we were so grateful! Your staff were very loving, caring and supportive," explains Mrs Joseph.
An idea that was formed some seven years ago when two friends went on their regular walk through the streets of Bedfordview, has led to thousands and thousands of rand donated over the past few years to various non-profit organizations who mostly deal with cancer related issues.
This year was no exception with the Shuffling Walking Team raising over R500 000 with their annual walk that took place on Sunday July 29 in Bedfordview. Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services was one of the seven beneficiaries chosen and on Tuesday 4 September, a cheque of R100 000 was handed over to Stepping Stone Hospice CEO, Tersia Burger.
In what is hoped to be the biggest gathering of bikers in Alberton and Johannesburg South in recent history, Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services has joined forces with Panorama Flee Market to host a biker's event on Saturday October 6, 2018.
"Bikers for Hospice" aims to not only create awareness of the services Stepping Stone Hospice delivers to this community, but to also mark the launch of World Hospice & Palliative Care Day, which this year coincides with the centenary celebrations of Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement.
Doing community hours in order to complete their Life Orientation portfolio, can be a tedious task for high school learners as it is often difficult to find a project that fits into their already busy schedules.
Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services launched a pilot project earlier this year whereby learners are not only able to gain their community hours, but also contribute towards the hospice's fundraising efforts.
Stepping Stone Hospice's Memorial Day will take place on Sunday, 16 September, from 12 noon at the hospice's In-Patient Unit in New Market Park.
This annual event sees families and friends gather together to remember their loved ones and reconnect with the people who cared for them in their last days.
"This will be our fifth Memorial Day since opening our doors in 2013," says Stepping Stone Hospice CEO, Tersia Burger. "To date, we have had over 1200 patients pass away under our care; people who we remember with love and fondness. On a personal level, I also honour the life of my daughter Vicky Bruce on this day. She was our very first patient, our very first death, and the reason that Stepping Stone Hospice exists at all."
After months of planning and designing and negotiating, it's finally happening. The Stepping Stone Hospice & Care Services' In-Patient Unit will be extended from an 8-ward unit to a 14-ward unit, all thanks to the combined efforts of Kim Scanell from Grayston Travel, Russell Cruickshank from Cornerstone Projects, Thersea Corrigan from SCS Architects and a fantastic team of sponsors and donors.
When the call came from Kim that she wishes to donate a 435sqm, second-hand park home, previously used as offices, to the hospice, the team at Stepping Stone Hospice, accepted the offer without hesitation.