13 December 2012

Technology in hospices

1st December, a day set aside globally to create awareness and reflect on the progress on the fight against HIV/Aids.


1st December, a day set aside globally to create awareness and reflect on the progress on the fight against HIV/Aids. According to 2007 statistics, South Africa has more people living with HIV/Aids than any other country in the world. 

Government and corporate companies are placing a large emphasis in addressing HIV and Aids in an integrated manner. Together with the help of the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA), hospices have been able to transfer skills, knowledge and experience with cancer to South Africa’s HIV/AIDS patients.

Funded by FNB, the introduction of the Hospice Data Management System (HDMS) has made a positive impact in the hospice sector. Hospices are now better positioned to manage patient numbers, manage their treatment and track patients after they have left the care of the hospice.To date the HDMS has been rolled out to just over 60 hospices countrywide.

Effective data management has meant better and easier reporting and less stress on staff at the hospices.” says Howard Arrand, Chairperson of the FNB Fund. Prior to the HDMS, the HPCA supported hospices by capturing, collating, recording and then submitting data monthly on an excel worksheet template.

Hospice systems world wide

The HDMS is one of the most sophisticated systems worldwide in the Hospice industry and most widely used in South Africa, bearing in mind that in other countries hospices have not yet incorporated HIV/AIDS in their care.

Currently, the HDMS system captures patient information, medication dispensed, type of care needed, hospice visits, financial reporting, human resource capacity, management information system and other monitoring and evaluation data. 

Wendy Uys, Manager at Sungardens Hospice in Pretoria says that “The HDMS has had a positive impact on Sungardens Hospice. We are able to supply accurate data and statistics to our main donors   and our fundraising team for reports and proposals.

The information that is obtainable through the HDMS has assisted us in rectifying and identifying situations, problems in our patient care services (e.g. patients not being visited or “lost” in the system) thus allowing us to follow up on these and improving our services to the community”.

Setting up efficient hospice data capturing systems

“The HDMS has had an enormous impact on hospice members. It has encouraged setting up efficient and effective data capturing systems that produce accurate and reliable data on staff and patient care. Most hospices use the data to manage staff, identify challenges in their patient care services and introduce appropriate quality improvement measures resulting in improved patient care services,” says Arrand.

We all know that HIV is a treatable disease and many people living with HIV, live relatively normal lives for many years by taking care of their health and optimizing their immune system. Arrand concludes by saying that, “A positive attitude is important in anything that we do. It can change your view on life, people and circumstances and ultimately help you achieve your goals. We need to take active steps in ensuring and assisting those in need.”

(Press release, December 2012)

Read more: 

HIV treatment interruptions

More visits from hospice may allow death at home


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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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