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Meet Hospice East Rand’s new media liaison

"We offer support and care for a patient and their family from the time of diagnosis and we recommend contacting hospice for support sooner rather than later"

Hospice East Rand recently welcomed marketing and media liaison Jonquil Siepman to their team.

“I have been affiliated with Hospice East Rand since 2017 but took on the role of marketing and media liaison in January 2020,” she said. “Many years ago Hospice East Rand stepped in to assist when my oupa was ill. While I didn’t understand everything that was happening, it did have a big impact on me and my brother. I saved our pocket money to donate to them in saying thank you for their support.

“Years later I better understand the role hospice plays in the lives of palliative care patients. It is not just a place you call when you are dying – there is so much more to it. While pain management is a big part of the process, it is more about understanding a patient’s symptoms in a holistic manner.”

Siepman said this means taking their physical, mental and emotional aspects into account and finding the most appropriate and beneficial way to help a patient.

“This also extends to family members in understanding their emotions and needs and working around these in the best interest of the patient. It is a scary time in not only a patient’s life but in their family members’ too. To be able to support and guide them through this process is a wonderful gift to give.”

What are your hopes and dreams for hospice and how do you hope to help them?

“My dream is for our community to better understand the role we play and to contact us sooner rather than later for support through an end-of-life journey. There is a common belief that a hospice is where patients go to die. That is not true. Hospice care is not only for people with a life-limiting illness who have a few weeks or days left to live.”

What does hospice do?

“We offer support and care for a patient and their family from the time of diagnosis and we recommend contacting hospice for support sooner rather than later.”

How has working at hospice changed your life?

“There are a few things I?ve learnt from working at Hospice East Rand. Each hospice has its own geographical location. Hospice East Rand services the Ekurhuleni region, which includes Bedfordview, Benoni, Boksburg, Brakpan, Daveyton, Edenvale, Germiston, Heidelberg, Kempton Park, Nigel, Springs and Vosloorus.

“Each hospice is responsible for their funding and while we are a NPO, we don?t receive any funding from government. While most medical aids cover care with hospice, only 20 per cent of our patients have access to medical aid cover.

As such, we rely heavily on donations, fund-raisers, bequests and income derived from the sale of second-hand goods through our 10 charity shops to provide care and support to our palliative care patients.”

The Lakefield resident has a bachelor of social science in psychology degree from the University of Pretoria.

“I had a romantic notion that one day I would save the world one person at a time and during my honours year I discovered that this is not always possible. With opportunity knocking at my door, I decided to pursue a career in marketing instead and today have over 16 years’ experience in the industry. Psychology has never left my side though. I utilise the skills learnt every day and one day I may just start up again and get that qualification under my belt.”

She also shared some of her personal life.

“I am married to my best friend and we have two really special children. We love being in each other’s space (as crazy as that sounds) and when not juggling work and school (before Covid-19), we love going on family adventures together for my husband’s blog (Man vs Mind).”

Hospice East Rand is based at 218 Kemston Avenue, Benoni, and can be contacted on 011 422 1531 for more information.

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