Pretoria Sungardens Hospice was founded by Shelagh Lahoud and subsequently established in 1987, and Mamelodi Hospice in 1994. These hospices were established out of a need that existed in the community to take care of terminally ill patients. This particular Hospice and the one satellite Hospice serve the greater Tshwane Metropolitan area. The main administrative and in-patient unit is situated in Pretoria (corner of January Masilela and Lynnwood Road). We offer a programme of specialised home-based care to patients and their families who must cope with terminal illness such as Cancer, HIV/AIDS, final stages of emphysema and Motor Neuron Disease. Although we have a 7-bed in-patient unit on our premises, which provides short-term medical care, including pain and symptom control, the main thrust of our work is for our professionally trained nurses to visit the patients and their families in their own homes to provide physical care, practical help and emotional support. We serve approximately 300 patients at any given time. The hospice team also provides bereavement counselling and palliative care training and conduct support groups and adherence clubs.

Mamelodi Hospice provides this care and support to persons in the last phases of incurable disease, making sure that their lives remain as meaningful and comfortable as possible. At any one time we have between 220 and 250 patients to take care of, many of whom are in their final stages of HIV/Aids. We therefor have the added concern of taking care of the children and these families, some of whom are also diagnosed with HIV/Aids. Many children are orphaned at an early age and stay under the care of grandparents and relatives, many of whom are unemployed. Our patients and their families need to be fed, schooled and entertained. Funds permitting, Hospice distributes food to these families and outings are arranged through networking with other organisations during the year. We run a daycare program once a week. Patients who are able to function normally, take part. They receive a medical check-up and a good meal and spend the rest of the day socialising with other patients. No patients are shown away because of their inability to pay. Services are free of charge. In cases where the medical aid is not exhausted, the relevant institution will be approached. Patients are normally referred to us by their doctor, hospital or family member. Mamelodi Hospice affirms life and recognises dying as a normal process. We neither hasten nor postpone death, but exist in the belief that with proper care and the promotion of a caring community, patients and families will be free to attain a satisfactory degree of mental and spiritual preparation for death.

Respect for people is paramount in the care of our patients and families. Coming to terms with a life threatening illness is as important as coming to terms with life and may provide profound insights into the purpose of living. Each person is to be valued and should be treated with dignity, compassion and respect according to the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence and non-maleficence in this regard. The terminally ill should have the right to retain control and share fully in the decisions concerning what is appropriate for them. They have the right to their religious views, their cultural beliefs and their personal philosophies.

Sungardens Hospice care involves a holistic approach but is flexible enough to focus on individual need if this seems appropriate to patients and their families.

Sungardens Hospice is a medically directed nurse coordinated programme of care which draws on the resources of both professional and trained caregivers supported by a large group of volunteers. All participants involved in care abide by the principles of confidentiality, truth telling and trustworthiness.