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Hospice East Rand name change imminent

Financially, it has been a year with ups and downs

It was revealed at its AGM for the 2022/23 financial year on October 16 that Hospice East Rand has shown a financial improvement.

Hospice East Rand provides holistic care for people diagnosed with any life-limiting illness, whether it be neurological illnesses, cardiovascular illnesses or cancer.
In his report, chairperson Con Roux thanked all staff, volunteers and colleagues for how they tackled a difficult year.

“It is easy to forget the turmoil that followed Ekurhuleni budget cuts. It forced the closure of numerous NGOs. Although these budget cuts were later reversed the damage was done.

“Unemployment, perilous economic circumstances, high inflation, deteriorating living standards, broken infrastructure, poor health services, load-shedding and a dysfunctional state (at all levels) play their part in perpetrating the malaise in which we find ourselves.

“It is within this environment that Hospice staff and volunteers get up in the morning and head out to do their work to the best of their ability. For those in the frontline of patient care, this means dealing with life and death daily.”
Name change
Roux added he witnessed first-hand the fierce passion the staff has for the organisation at their staff consultative meeting on August 21 and expressed his gratitude to everyone for embracing the process of change relating to the organisation’s name.

“By the end of the meeting, it was clear that we were unanimous that the name Hospice East Rand needs to change, in a synthesised way. On the medical side, the ‘end of life’ association with the name Hospice is simply too strong a deterrent to our patient attraction objective of relationship from the point of diagnosis.

“However, from a shop perspective, the Hospice brand is such a strong and credible one that we would drop it at our peril. The answer, everyone agreed, will be to refresh our brand, rather than to rebrand in totality.

“Thus, a possible name might be East Rand Palliative Care trading as Hospice East Rand.

“The executive is grappling with the myriad of legal and marketing issues about a name change. Once these have been addressed, a further staff meeting will be called to finalise a name and move forward with the change process.”

Roux further added its umbrella body, Hospice Palliative Care Association (HPCA), officially became the Association of Palliative Care Centres (APCC).
“This is a courageous move to place palliative care, defined as follows, at top of mind for the medical profession, as well as the general public – palliative care is the physical, psychological, social and spiritual care provided by an interdisciplinary team of experts to anyone with a life-threatening illness and their loved ones.

“Care is offered from the point of diagnosis and extends to bereavement support if needed.”
According to Roux, the year has been a year of ups and downs financially.
“Initially, we were in an acutely difficult situation, being well below budget. After six months, Hospice had a deficit of nearly half a million rand, largely due to issues with low patient numbers and patient billings. This led to many sleepless nights.

“Yet, we were blessed with bequests and donations that often literally come out of the blue. On occasion, these come from persons with no known prior association with Hospice. Our reputation has at such times set us apart from the thousands of other potential recipients.

“I would like to thank in particular Claire for her meticulous work throughout the year (not to mention support at the Shuffling Sisters Walk on the coldest day of the year!), as well as Rod and Partners for once again conducting the audit pro bono.”

Hospice ended the 2022/23 financial year with a loss of R349 151, which was R930 547 in the previous financial year.

“This is a significant and most welcome improvement. The charity shops brought in R6 000 084. Bequests and donations in memory brought in a staggering R2 151 470, a full R750k more than the previous year.
“Community nursing fees brought in R1 099 969, marginally higher than last year, but significantly less than the R1.6m in 2020/21. The main reason for this is the reduction in patient numbers, which remains of immense concern in the overall context of the ongoing sustainability of our organisation.

“Employee costs of R6 778 575 constitute 66.6% of operating expenses. As expected, this is a high percentage, but I am grateful that we were able to demonstrate tangible gratitude to our staff through the award of a 50% bonus in December 2022. Our investment in our staff will remain of great importance.”

The chairperson highlighted Brenda Bischoff continues to be the longest-serving staff member, having been with Hospice since 1986.
“We are extremely grateful to you Brenda for devoting your life’s work to Hospice.”

A decision was recently taken by the executive to sell the Vosloorus property, which had not been used since Covid-19. “I’m more than happy to confirm that the property has been sold to a cash buyer for the sum of R700 000.”
Moreover, the training of personal care workers was sponsored by FEM in the generous amount of R510 000.
Roux pointed out several wonderful, uplifting events that have recently taken place.

This includes Bring-a-Things at several schools, notably St Dunstan’s and St Benedict’s, the Carvalho festival and the Shuffling Sisters Walk. On October 14, the Tree of Memories ceremony took place in the format of a candle celebration.

“The event, anchored by a talk by Nicole Dickson and music by Jesse Clegg, was a memorable celebration of life and loved ones, past and present, for the whole family,” the chairperson added.
Furthermore, he said the farewell of Hospice stalwart Marge Heubner, first as a volunteer and then as a receptionist, was a lovely occasion.

“We again joyfully celebrate the fact that within each member of the Hospice family, there is an invincible summer that will not be defeated by the trials and tribulations that surround us.
“As I have journeyed with Hospice over the last 29 years, my love and admiration for those who serve the organisation has grown exponentially.”

Also Read: AGM: Child welfare hopeful of reopening Keep Me Safe House

Also Read: Hospice East Rand wants your pre-loved toys


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