CANSA Care Homes – “It Feels like Home”
June 2017 – CANSA offers a wide range of support and care services to cancer patients and their families. One such support service are our CANSA Care Homes, of which there are 11 across South Africa, in main metropolitan areas. They provide a home-away-from-home environment, offering accommodation to patients undergoing cancer treatment on an out-patient basis, at treatment facilities far from their homes.
“Our patients find such comfort in staying at a place where there are other people in the same situation. The support that these patients offer one another is incredible. Our staff at the #CANSACareHomes also offer individual counselling or support groups for the patients staying at the Homes, and understand their special physical and emotional needs during cancer treatment, and cater for that. We find that the most important aspect of cancer treatment is a good support system – and that is exactly what we offer,” says Gerda Strauss, CANSA Head of Service Delivery. #CANSAserves
Guests at the many CANSA Care Homes around the country stay for an average of six to eight weeks, while undergoing treatment. This makes treatment more accessible for those who do not live close to oncology clinics. While patients stay at the Care Homes, they also receive nutritious meals. Transport between the Care Home and treatment centres is also offered to the cancer patients, which makes treatment even more accessible. This makes recovery easier for patients, as they do not have the added stress of seeking transport, whilst being sick. “With the high occupancy and over-full hospitals, it highlights the value of our Care Homes and the fact that we can offer accommodation to out-patients from cancer treatment centres,” says Strauss.
Mzonke Magqazolo, a former Marikana miner fought against all odds when he was diagnosed with throat cancer, and told he only had a few months left to live. “To mentally prepare one’s self for death is extremely emotional but I found comfort at the CANSA Mkhuhla Care Home and this was truly a home away from home. They provided me with quality care in a warm and friendly environment. They never gave up on me,” said Mr. Magqazolo.
CANSA offers online support through various platforms – Facebook support groups, and online support programmes like the iSurvivor Programme. CANSA also offers info and support through the CancerCare Coping Kit (audio CD or booklet). This Coping Kit provides practical advice to individuals, their loved ones, Caregivers and friends to ease the cancer journey and to take control by making informed choices.
“Another service offering at some Care Homes is our medical loan equipment. We have various medical equipment that can be hired out by patients, this includes wheelchairs, walking frames, wigs, hospital beds, bath chairs, commodes, egg-shell mattresses, sheep skins, etc.” continues Strauss.
Arnold Bezuidenhout shares his experience at one of the CANSA Care Homes; “It feels like home, without doing the dishes or garden. All the staff are so positive and very helpful.”
Gerrit Pretorius shares his gratitude at having housed his mother at one of CANSA’s Care Homes: “We want to thank CANSA for looking after my mother during her treatment. All the staff were so professional, loving and respectful. Thank you to the kitchen staff for the lovely meals – my mother couldn’t stop talking about their friendliness and helpful nature. My mom also appreciated the transport delivered by such competent staff – without them my mother wouldn’t have been able to receive her treatment.”
CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. As a leading role-player in cancer research (more than R12 million spent annually), the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public.
Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support and organisational management; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support.
We also supply patient care and support in the form of 11 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients; a hospitium based in Polokwane; and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.