Wednesday, 04 February 2009

Howick Hospice Retrenches Staff

Howick Hospice has had to retrench staff, reduce staff hours and not renew contracts with community care givers as a result of the funding crisis. The Hospice is now appealing for urgent financial assistance in order to avoid further lay-offs and additional cut-backs in services.

Howick Hospice has been serving the community in the greater Lions River district for 21 years and presently has over 300 cancer and HIV patients in its care. The Hospice has faced increasing demand for its services of the years and has always been financially stretched. In December 2008 a major international funding agreement came to an end leaving the Hospice with a significant shortfall. The present financial crisis poses a major threat to Howick Hospice’s ability to offer care to those facing life-threatening illness and further support to families after death.

“Hospice care enables families to keep loved ones at home, without pain and other distressing symptoms and it allows for people to die with dignity”, says Louise Stobart, the General Manager, “but unless we get major cash injection soon, we will no longer be able to help members of the community in this way.”

The Howick Hospice has flourished on the support of the community, with volunteers forming the backbone to the programs offered for many years. The organisation is now appealing to the community and businesses in particular, to come forward with support to enable this valuable service to continue. “For the past five years most income has come from overseas funders, but for a number of reasons this has drastically declined in recent months and we are going to have to find more support locally in future.” stated Tony Hunt, the organisation’s Treasurer. “We are appealing to everyone to assist as life threatening illness is something most of us are not equipped to deal with and when, unexpectedly, it enters one’s own family receiving support is such a relief.” Dr Dave Peiser, a local GP who has been closely involved in the organisation over the years expressed grave concern at the threat to the services. “As a GP I have found the assistance of Howick Hospice has been invaluable in caring for terminally ill patients and it would be a tragic loss to Doctors and to the community if Hospice were unable to continue this important service.”

Howick Hospice offers a range of services to the community beyond their well known home care program including a clinic, support group for children and bereavement care. In addition to this the organisation plays an important role in networking and training community groups including clinic staff, professionals, community members and home based carers.

The organisation is cutting back on every aspect possible to avoid further services reduction as well as launching an aggressive income generation strategy which includes fundraising events, proposals, sponsorships and increasing the turn-over in the Hospice shop. Assistance is welcomed in any form and the organisation recognises that some parties may have a particular interest or desire to assist in a specific area.

Contact information:
Howick Hospice Association
PO Box 819

7 Mansfield Road

Telephone: 033 330 5257
Fax: 086 662 7331
email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in Health and Medicine