The home care team at Helderberg Hospice, located in Somerset West, South Africa, went to great lengths to ensure their patients would continue to receive quality care during the nationwide lockdown. They shared with us a reflection on how COVID-19 has affected their interaction with patients and families.
“Friday, the 26th of March 2020 heralded the commencement of the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown in South Africa. Subsequent to our Presidents announcement, the Home Care Sisters were spurred into action to prepare themselves for 21 days of being on duty 24/7! Cars were stocked to the hilt with sufficient provisions to ensure patient care could and would continue unimpeded. On reflection, nothing has changed in the quality of care and service delivered by the home care team to our patients.
From a Home Care Sisters’ perspective, the COVID-19 ‘mirror’ has enlightened us to the importance and the emotional toll that our ‘normal’ interaction with patients has on us. No more a hasty visit in answer to a distressed call as we have roadblocks to negotiate. Personal Protective Equipment, although vital, means a smile or comforting look is masked and, in addition, social distancing prohibits a comforting touch in response to pain, loneliness and vulnerability experienced by many we care for. Standing by, witnessing a family mourn the loss of a loved one, but unable to be physically present with each other to grieve together and console one another.
Meeting regularly as a clinical team, to share knowledge and debrief, is now being facilitated via a WhatsApp group.
This too shall pass, but our TEAM has not been cowed by this virus and has proven the adage Together Everyone Achieves More! As South Africans we have learnt to adapt and make do and so are managing to take this unusual situation in our stride.”