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On 12 May we will once again celebrate International Nurses Day to commemorate the birthday of Florence Nightingale, one of the most well-known nurses of all time. It is a day where nurses worldwide are thanked for everything they do for those who are sick and frail. In line with the global recognition to ensure healthy lives and to promote wellbeing for all, no matter their age, gender or social status, our own Department of Health has also adopted a “wellness focus” in their 2016/2017 approach.
According to Dr Marie-Paule Kieny, Assistant Director-General, Health Systems and Innovation, WHO (WHO & World Bank 2015), the world’s most disadvantaged people are missing out on even the most basic health services. Health policies and programmes should therefore focus on providing quality health services for the poorest people, women and children, people living in rural areas and those from minority groups.
Most people think about hospital staff when referring to nurses, however there are many organisations who employ nurses, assistant nurses, carers and home-based carers to provide healthcare services to those in need. Badisa, a non-profit, social service organisation, delivering services in the Western, Northern and Eastern Cape currently employs 330 nursing staff who provides care to 6 091 individuals . This includes patients who are substance dependent, disabled and older persons.
Home based care
To make home based care more accessible and affordable, they also employ 127 home-based carers who provide care to 3716 frail patients. Even though the Department of Health no longer focuses on home-based care, they still provide financial assistance to 5 Badisa programmes:
- Droom Home for the Aged and Disabled in Riversdal,
- Vredendal Home for the Aged,
- Ons Huis in Citrusdal,
- Hartenbos Care Centre,
- Aan Oewer Service Centre in Velddrif, and
- Badisa Saron
According to Ida Nel, Co-ordinator for the Care of Older Persons at Badisa, the public needs to know the following regarding home-based carers and those who are cared for:
- Families need to plan ahead of time to make important decisions before home based care is required. They need to advise the person who will require care, who will make medical and financial decisions on their behalf, know which type of procedures will be acceptable and choose a next of kin to be updated on the patient’s health status.
- The patient always has a voice and has a right to be consulted regarding changes to their care and lifestyle. It is for example advised that where possible the patient keeps on using their existing service providers such as doctors, churches, pharmacists, hair dressers, etc. since they know and trust them.
- Always listen to the patient, not only to what they are saying, but also to what they are not saying.
- Respect the client’s privacy; the carer does not have to be present during every visit or telephone call. The carer needs to keep the family informed, but also needs to respect the patient’s wishes if they want to keep certain information confidential…
- Be patient with the patient, the carer and with yourself and equip yourself with knowledge regarding the health condition being treated.
Care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged
There are also many Badisa programmes that deliver healthcare services to previously disadvantaged communities. One such an example is Badisa’s Magdalenahuis, which adopts “The First Thousand Days” approach in a child’s life and provides education and assistance to pregnant women who are at risk due to their social circumstances. These preventative services contribute to healthier pregnancies, better parental skills, as well as life and entrepreneurial skills, and also include adoption counseling. The women partaking in these daycare programmes come from the informal settlements of the northern suburbs of Cape Town, such as Klipheuwel, Fisantekraal, Bloekombos, Scottsdene and Wallacedene, and are referred to Badisa by their local clinics. According to Stephny du Plessis, the Programme Manager at Magdalenahuis, this is truly a winning partnership between Magdalenahuis and the health sector.
Badisa is a registered public benefit organisation and provides tax rebate certificate for any monetary donations. If you can contribute towards Badisa’s home-based care, please contact email@example.com or visit www.badisa.org.za