We train and send out mobile home-nursing teams, who supplement and support the family's home based care through hands-on-training and additional aids in the home situation of the respective patient. This includes the assessment of patients at home and proper medical home care.
Last week I accompanied the Home Care Team in their work in the townships and informal settlements around Mandeni. I am always impressed how carefully Sindi steers the ambulance to the most remote huts.
Our patient was in a half-ruined hut, a small room without a window, a second room with only half a roof. The corrugated sheet metal rattled loud in the wind.
Fred came shuffling out of his shack very slowly and sat down on a chair, the only piece of furniture in this hut.
He was obviously in great pain.
A few days ago, he had handled an electrical device that caught fire and set fire to his shirt. Fred’s upper body was badly burnt. His wounds were treated at the clinic but then he was sent home.
Neighbours called our hospice for help, because there was nobody who could care for his wounds, which need special care.
We visit him every day, cleansing and bandaging his wounds and see whether he is well cared for by his neighbours, gets enough food and is recovering.
Nhlanhla’s fate is not unusual in the townships around Mandeni. Nhlanhla is a young man of 28 years without vocational training and he used to live like so many others from casual work.
His family is a bit better off. They managed to own a small house. However, there is no money for education or health insurance here either.
A few months ago, Nhlanhla went out with some friends. On his way home, it was pitch dark on the unlit streets, it happened. A car driver overlooked him. Nhlanhla barely survived the accident and has been paralyzed from his neck since.
In South Africa there is no rehabilitation system for patients like Nhlanhla. Hospitals send the patients home as soon as possible and the families have to see how they can cope with their son, daughter etc. who suddenly needs constant nursing care.
We were called by Nhlanhla’s family to show them how to deal with such a patient, how to position him so that he does not get bed sores, how to wash him, just about all that is needed for proper care.
The family can now handle him well, but we still look after them regularly to prevent difficulties or complications.