Patients given a helping hand

False Bay Hospital in Fish Hoek.

Patients from False Bay Hospital in need of chronic medication have been lent a helping hand during lockdown, with Living Hope acting as a delivery service.

Executive director Reverend John Thomas says that the organisation will also be doing all the screening for Covid-19 in the area.

Living Hope is screening Masiphumelele, Ocean View and Capricorn and Mr Thomas said they would inform communities when they moved into other areas. “This is another major undertaking in addition to all the normal community-based health care work we do,” he said.

The usual care work continues amid this pandemic. “The delivery of chronic medication to hospital patients is a massive undertaking; we are literally delivering to thousands of patients from Cape Point to Retreat,” he said.

To render this service, the organisation required more drivers, cars and fuel. They also need to practice careful organisation and admin once delivered, hence the redeployment of some staff members as essential service providers.

Mr Thomas said False Bay Hospital is giving Living Hope sealed packs of medication which they then deliver. This is to enable people who are on chronic medication to get their medication without needing to leave home. “Our staff have been fantastic in taking on these challenges but as you can imagine, we are running at over capacity at the moment,” he said.

He stressed that the deliveries do not replace follow-up doctor visits – if you have a doctor’s appointment this still has to be kept so that the doctor can make necessary adjustments and update the prescription.

Nathan Panti is one of the Living Hope staffers who volunteered to be part of the chronic medication drop-off service. He said it is a blessing, a privilege and an eye-opener to be part of it. “It is so rewarding to see the relief on people’s faces when you arrive,” he said.

He said even with the pamphlet drops and education, he still sees people in the various communities breaking the lockdown rules.

“In Ocean View where I live, you have people peering out their doors and windows to see if other people are on the streets,” he said. “If they see someone, they slip out and chat at their gates. It may be unintentional, but this is allowing the possibility of the virus to spread,” he said.

He said he was not afraid of being out during the pandemic but that is because so far there have been no local reports that he is aware of. “It may feel different when cases in Ocean View are confirmed.”

He said some residents in Masi leave their homes to come and ask for masks.

He urged everyone to keep their physical distances, to regularly wash their hands with soap for 20 seconds; to stick to the facts and not spread fake news.

Karen Peiser also volunteered to be redeployed as an essential worker. She said the organisational aspect of ensuring the chronic medicine roll-out happens daily and that everyone on the list gets their medication – a Herculean task but it is being done.

She even traced one patient’s new address through an estate agent after learning that the patient had moved.

She described her opportunity to be part of essential services as an act of service that drives her every day. “It really is a privilege to part of a system which ensures that people get their meds while adhering to the national lockdown rules,” she said.

Along with the medicines, she said patients are given pamphlets about Covid-19 and how to safely receive a package from the outside world and safely dispense of the wrappers. “A lady who lives in Muizenberg told me today that this service was a blessing to her because she wouldn’t have known how to get her meds otherwise. She thanked us for putting ourselves at risk for her,” she said.

Cindy Reynold McNamara wrote on Facebook: “A huge thank you to Living Hope, who just delivered my chronic meds so that I didn’t have to go collect them at False Bay Hospital. Such efficiency and so well planned. Well done indeed!”

Kim Aurora Norval wrote on Facebook “Just a shout-out to Living Hope Sunnydale for so kindly offering their services on behalf of False Bay Hospital and dropping off medication for a disabled gentleman who lives with
me.”