Palliative Care at Blessed Gérard's Hospice

We run a hospice for inptient care, outpatient care and home care of needy terminal patients (mostly AIDS patients).

The hospice was opened on the feast of Blessed Gérard, 3 September 1996.

Inpatient hospice

We admit sick people for hospice and palliative care as inpatients.

When terminally ill and dying patients can no longer be adequately cared for at home, we admit them as inpatients. Sometimes this is done temporarily to give overburdened relatives a break.

Often the patient's condition improves so much thanks to our good care, full nutrition and continuous medical treatment that he or she can be temporarily discharged home again.

As a rule, however, the sick come to us to spend the last days of their lives here. Palliative care focuses on the well-being of the person. Loving care, willingness to listen and talk, human closeness and care are the focus. Adequate pain therapy and other medical aids are just as much a part of this as pastoral care and psychosocial support.

With which illnesses are patients admitted as inpatients or for which reasons?

With which illnesses are patients admitted as inpatients or for which reasons?

Interview by Father Martin Trieb OSB with Father Gerhard T. Lagleder OSB

Why or when we admit a patient here actually has not so much to do with the diagnosis, but with their neediness, in other words: We admit patients here who cannot be cared for at home or cannot be cared for sufficiently. We not only have inpatient admissions, but we also train people in home nursing. We have mobile home care teams that provide home care and we have day care, but where this is not sufficient because the patient is too ill or the family is not able to take over the care, that is where we admit the patient. A large proportion of our patients - it's difficult to say or estimate this as a percentage - but I think when I say 90%, that I'm not exaggerating, that this 90% is suffering from AIDS and AIDS rarely comes alone, it usually comes in the trifecta of AIDS, tuberculosis and STIs. So this is the dominant area from which our patients come.

But we also accept patients for rehabilitation. We are not only a hospice, but also a care centre, i.e. patients, e.g. after a stroke, after a heart attack, after an accident, who then have to be rehabilitated, with whom we have to do exercises, with whom we have to give them the medicine that the doctor prescribes, so that they can recover again, and in addition we also take in relatives, whom we show how they can continue to care for their relatives at home.

Hospice Home Care

We go where no one else goes ...With our outpatient care service, which travels to the "last corners" of the hinterland, we provide a unique service.

Our home care teams travel from the care centre to the sick people with a nursing specialist and complement and support the home care provided by the family.

These teams are also our "first responders" when we receive a call for help that a family is overwhelmed with care. We then guide the patient's relatives on how to properly care for their family member. The nurse decides on the further care plan with the patient's relatives.

If care cannot be adequately provided at home, the team, which usually travels by ambulance, takes the sick person to the hospice for inpatient admission.

Hospice and palliative care is the active care of patients with advanced, progressive and incurable diseases.

World Health Organization (WHO) definition:
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness. It does this by preventing and relieving suffering through early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other physical, psychosocial and spiritual problems.

Palliative care

  • provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Affirms life and views dying as a normal process.
  • does not seek to hasten or postpone death
  • integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
  • provides a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
  • provides a support system to help the family cope and manage their own grief during the patient's illness
  • uses a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including grief counselling when necessary
  • will improve the quality of life, and can also positively influence the course of the disease;
  • must start early in the course of the disease, in conjunction with other therapies designed to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and includes the necessary investigations to better understand and treat distressing clinical complications.

Source: National Cancer Control Programmes: Policies and Managerial Guidelines, 2nd Ed. Geneva: WHO, 2002 (Excerpted from: International Association For Hospice and Palliative Care)

Reports from the hospice

Mbongani (2021)

Mbongani has been in the hospice for several months. He was admitted to our hospice because of advanced tuberculosis and severe skin problems.


Gift of the Lord - September 2007

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