Changing with the times – By Sr.Louise Stobart August 2018
When I saw Hospice’s amazing website, it brought to mind all the changes and growth in this organisation over the past 31 years.
When Howick Hospice was formed in 1987 – we met in a private home, then rented Presbyterian manse and then finally bought 7 Mansfield Road property – average house of lounge/dining room and 3 bedrooms. Now it has been extended a couple of times and has seven offices, a hall, depot for donated goods, a shop and garages for four cars. A typewriter was used, the treasurer used a handwritten ledger and no one had a cell phone. The nurses carried a bleeper to be called for emergencies. Now we have computers, WiFi, internet and social media.
Our care has changed somewhat due to circumstances out of our control and also to enable us to run a more efficient service to many more patients. Our ethos/mission statement however remains the same – we will always strive to offer a service of excellent palliative care, delivered by skilled, compassionate nurses. In the early days with low patient numbers, we had a team of dedicated volunteer caregivers who would offer basic patient care like bed baths, company, shopping etc. Today in 2018, because of the economic climate the majority of women of this age group are working.
The Aids epidemic took Hospice on a rollercoaster ride with numbers in the 100’s needing our service – now the numbers have dropped with ARV’s keeping the patients well although with chronic illness. Babies are being born HIV negative, which is wonderful. However, there is still a need for our service and the patients and their families are so grateful.
One thing that has not changed over the years is the camaraderie between the hospice sisters. Yes, our work is hard at times but when you get back to the office there is always someone to make you a cup of tea, give you a hug, encourage you, laugh with you or cry with you.
In the 80’s, there was only Greendale as an old age facility and now there are six Ambers with many needing palliative care for cancer. A hospital has been built. G.P. practices have grown, specialist’s rooms/services added, pharmacies, nursing services established and so the quality of medical care has increased 100 fold.
So now, I ask you to read up and get to know our dedicated staff. They all do such a sterling job. So Liz and I (two longest serving members) who are not on the staff but do contract work when needed say well done Howick in supporting this excellent hospice. Howick Hospice could not be where we are today without your ongoing dedicated support.