Lockdown Report from the board of Hospice Plett

IN the upside-down time we have all been enduring, a communication and thank you from us to the Plett community is well overdue. Our role as board is that of vigilant oversight of all aspects of organisational management and we are pleased to note a couple of developments during this period.

Strengthened organisational capacity and succession planning
Administration manager Debbie Bruinders and our senior professional nurse Edward Muchenje have completed the Hospice Palliative Care Association’s Leadership Development Programme and serve as back-up team for our CEO. They have already stood in when she has had to be away. They are a vibrant and highly competent leadership team which has recently been expanded to include psychosocial manager Annesta Hofer.
Our administrative capacity especially with regard to human resource management has been significantly deepened by the appointment of administrative assistant Shirley Viljoen. She came on board in March with a wealth of experience and has made an impressive contribution in a very short time.

Hospice Plett partnership with Eden District Health
We have been used as best-practice model by the Department of Health for public and private sector cooperation and service. A major organisational initiative, it has enabled us to greatly extend the reach and influence of our Wellness Programme.

Bitou Covid-19 Response Fund
A highly important Hospice Plett activity during lockdown has been our participation in the C-19 Response Team. We are proud to have played a key role in this local initiative.
While we proudly report on these encouraging developments we must regrettably, also report on a less encouraging, disconcerting development: it must be noted that our role in the Bitou C-19 Response Team, has been at the cost of our own organisational stability.
While we made our bank account available for this purpose and exercised hawkeyed vigilance over procurement and payments, not one cent of the funds raised for this local initiative can be used by Hospice Plett - it was donated towards Covid-19 response and has to be used for this purpose.
There seems to be a perception that we have benefited from this fund - nothing could be further from the truth. While other local NPOs were applying for relief funds, we were managing the Bitou C-19 Response Fund. We procured, safeguarded and distributed medical equipment, sanitiser supplies, masks and emergency food relief, for example.
Lockdown meant all our planned local fundraising events for 2020 had to be cancelled. Our Charity Shop had to be closed for a period and once reopened, is operating at a third of its capacity.
Our 2020/21 year will see us in deficit and we need to find a way through this darkening cloud.
We have already expressed our sincere thanks to every member of Hospice Plett’s operational teams - nurses, lay counsellors, Community Health Workers (CHWs), homebased carers, admin support staff - and our volunteers. Morale has remained high and dedication has been the hallmark of their service.
Several awareness and screening campaigns around Covid-19 were successfully executed by our CHWs and their professional nurse supervisors; 12 volunteers were trained in psychosocial palliative care and continue to assist Bitou medical officer Dr Anel Scholtz with the psychosocial support and follow-up of all patients who tested positive for C-19 in Bitou. Our palliative care team under Edward Muchenje and Annesta Hofer continued to give excellent support to patients at the end of life, in their homes.
We close this Lockdown Report with HUGE gratitude to every member of the wider Bitou community who have stood by us in the past. We need you to keep standing by us as we continue delivering our free palliative and health and wellness services to the entire Bitou from Harkerville to as far as Storms River: please help us to keep turning things right-side UP!
Hilary Matthews: Hospice Plett Chairman