Short description

Providing palliative care, physco-social support and training health carers in the UGU health district


Worldwide, there are an estimated 33 million people who are living with HIV. The AIDS pandemic in the 21st century continues to have its greatest impact in the developing world with Africa carrying about 67 % of the disease burden. South Africa, with an estimated 5.7 million people living with HIV, has the highest HIV population of any country in the world, and the worst affected part of South Africa is KwaZulu Natal. The Ugu District, a Presidential Poverty Node in the rural KwaZulu Natal, thus lies at the epicentre of the global pandemic.

Many of those affected by HIV/AIDS living in this area do not have access to decent care due to the difficult terrain and the vast distances to clinics. The South Coast Hospice developed an Integrated Community-based Home Care model which consists of mobile teams of trained home-based carers who travel to patients’ houses in order to provide holistic clinical care, food and support.

Through its holistic and interdisciplinary approach to providing high quality care the organisation seeks to ensure that patients and their families have control over their lives and maintain their dignity in times of terminal illness and loss. South Coast Hospice is the only hospice within a 200km radius and only one of four hospices in the entire province with an in-patient unit.


Having been in existence for 29 years, South Coast Hospice is committed to serving the community of the Ugu District of KwaZulu Natal by providing specialised palliative care for patients with severe progressive disease, and their families. Care is given in the patient’s own home, backed up by an in-patient unit and local health facilities.

The organisation is committed to the training and development of its staff and volunteers as well as health carers in the community. The majority of patients are living in the rugged terrain of Kwa-Zulu Natal’s Ugu District and have very little access to basic services and infrastructure. They continually face the challenges of abject poverty and the stigma associated with their illness.

The organisation has several programmes and services. These include:

  • Rural Home Care Programme and Urban Home Care Programme: provides holistic palliative care to beneficiaries in their homes. This includes psycho-social support, counseling and bereavement follow up.
  • Orphans and Vulnerable Children Programme: the main aim of this programme is to build resilience in children who are both infected and affected.  The Memory Box workshops in particular nurture children’s inherent capability to cope with grief and trauma building on protective processes found in the children themselves as well as in their families and communities.
  • Bereavement Care and Counseling: social outreach and advocacy services.
  • Training Centre: accredited training programme providing Community Health Home Based Care and HIV/AIDS counseling courses.

All these programmes feed in to the In-Patient Unit located on the organisation’s premises.

When the organisation began its work the majority of beneficiaries were cancer patients receiving palliative care.  However HIV/AIDS has greatly changed the organisation’s focus. The Orphans and Vulnerable Children programme, for example, addresses the growing number of orphans and vulnerable children as well as child-headed households in the Ugu District. Another disease causing growing concern is TB, particularly MDR (multi drug resistant) TB. Another key programme offering is the accredited training provided to home carers.

The organsation’s In-Patient Unit has dedicated nurses trained in palliative care of which pain control is a key element. The staff also includes two doctors. Patients are categorised into categories one, two and three, with category three being the most critical. The Home Care teams structure the frequency of their patient visits based on the severity of the patient’s condition, which is guided by this categorisation. SC Hospice closely tracks the number of patients in each programme.

The organisation is a member of the Hospice Palliative Care Association and participates in the KwaZulu Natal committee of Hospice Pallitative Care. It also mentors new hospices in the province. SC Hospice has also worked with various universities and is currently working with a team from Johns Hopkins University on multi drug resistant TB. Locally, the organisation works with clinics and schools as well as the Department of Health and the Department of Social Development, which has provided one social worker and two auxiliary social workers.

What we like about this organisation

  • The organisation works with beneficiaries from the Ugu District which has been identified as a Presidential Poverty Node. HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in this district are among the highest in the country.
  • All SC Hospice’s staff received the accredited training to carry out quality palliative care.

What difference can your money make?

  • R 10 000 will allow the organisation to purchase four mattresses of the In-Patient unit
  • R250 000 will allow the organisation to buy a vehicle which will be used primarily to transport patients to and from the In-Patient unit. The vehicle would allow for an additional 200 visits per month reaching an average of 600 beneficiaries for counselling, TB testing and basic home care training.
  • With R750 000 SC Hospice could hold nine Memory Box workshops. With approximately 30 children attending each workshop, 270 children will benefit from the workshops and additionally receive three months of visits

Volunteering opportunities

  • Assist with the South Coast Hospice Thrift Store and fundraisers
  • Gardening on the premises
  • Clerical, cooking, maintenance jobs
  • Walking  pets