Our Covid-19 response

Re: Urgent appeal to support Knysna Sedgefield Hospice Covid-19 Response

Knysna Sedgefield Hospice has provided home-based palliative care and support for persons with incurable illnesses for the past 34 years at no cost to the patient. The Covid-19 pandemic is radically expanding demand for our expertise once more. Simultaneously, measures to control the pandemic have destroyed several of our usual funding streams.  Our lost income over the last year from our Hospice Shops and cancelled fundraising events is R680 000. These are essential funds that cover operational costs.

As an organisation of frontline healthcare workers who have recently achieved a score of 99% in the latest COHSASA (The Council for Health Service Accreditation of Southern Africa) Accreditation and a 5-star rating with HPCA (Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa), we are appealing to you for your support of our emergency Covid-19 Response.

As palliative care and bereavement experts, we have identified three key threats developing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic:

1.Those in Hospice care are at extremely high risk of contracting Covid-19.

The majority (96%) of current Hospice patients are over 60.
Over the past year almost half of our patients had chronic diseases like hypertension and diabetes; 30% had cancer and 20% had HIV and TB.

 2.We may need to provide home-based palliative care for double our usual number of terminally ill patients.

Our current operations annually provide direct services to 355 patients and their families.
We estimate that there are upward of 22 000 people at high risk for Covid-19 in our catchment area.

In the past month, we have already had an a 5% surge in new referrals, as patients are discharged home sooner than under normal circumstances.

3.Community mental health, and families who lose loved ones, are at risk because of Covid-19-related trauma and complicated grief.

In addition to the economic and psychosocial trauma associated with the coronavirus pandemic, we are anticipating an unprecedented loss of life.

In our catchment area, 13% of the population are over 60. The death rate among elderly patients is estimated at 15% to 22%.

Families suffering the loss of their loved ones during this time may be prohibited from visiting because of the risk of Covid-19 infection or from holding funerals or memorial services. They will experience this as the world enters recession and many face financial insecurity and deepened poverty.

To meet an unprecedented need and to prepare our community to weather this pandemic, we are scaling-up our efforts and have adapted how we offer services to ensure that they are safe and accessible, and at no cost to the patient. Knysna Sedgefield Hospice Covid-19 Response includes:

    • Scaling-up direct palliative care to home-based patients and supporting families to ensure dignity and comfort while supporting them to maintain self-isolation beyond lockdowns by:
      • Implementing stringent infection control protocol for home-visits to protect both healthcare workers and patients from Covid-19 infection
      • Scaling up telemedicine and remote consultations
    • Scaling up emergency relief to extremely vulnerable patients and those living alone
    • Assisting with food and medicine delivery directly to homes
    • Establishing support networks for caregivers and families inside safe houses


  1. Preparing healthcare workers in public and private practice to respond with resilience to the pandemic by:
    • Supporting viable referrals for home-based end-of-life care to relieve the burden on hospitals and make beds available
    • Providing on-site management and consulting to Knysna Hospital, the Step-down Unit and Community Healthcare Workers
  • Adapting advanced health planning, palliative care and bereavement training for remote teaching
  • Establishing a local community-of-practice and webinar series on palliative care, advanced health planning and bereavement


  1. Building community mental health resilience by:
    • Extending advanced health planning, palliative care and bereavement training to new audiences (including management teams of local businesses and large employers; teachers and schools; local community leaders and civil society groups and religious communities)
    • Adapting and scale-up bereavement and complex grief support groups to provide remote counselling and support to families, children and friends of those who lose loved ones

To scale our work and adapt our practice we require your support more than ever before. We are in the privileged position to have exactly the skills and experience required in the face of the coronavirus crisis, but we urgently need financial assistance in order to meet the challenge.


Or deposit directly into our bank account:
Knysna Sedgefield Hospice, Nedbank Current Account 1089003145, Branch Code 198765, Swift Code NEDSZAJJ