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2018 ISSUE

Palliative Care Practices of Community Health Workers and Professional Nurses in Limpopo Province, South Africa


Mary Kay O'Brien, Jennifer Stueve, & Lillian Ware

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In Sub-Saharan Africa, shortages of health workers have negatively affected health care due to the severity of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a result of migration to urban areas and to private institutions. As a
result, CHWs and professional nurses provide needed care in the community. This pilot study sought to understand palliative care practices of and challenges faced by CHWs and professional nurses as
well as the feasibility and cultural appropriateness of the Palliative Care for Dignified Dying survey in the Vhembe district of Limpopo
Province, South Africa. Through the use of focus group interviews, common themes were identified: Ubuntu and spirituality, direct
care, comfort, self-care, and advocacy for bereaved children.
This pilot study provided significant evidence that additional hospice facilities are needed in Vhembe district. Due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and loss of cultural traditions resulting from loss of entire
generations, now is a prime time to begin to establish a more prominent hospice community.


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