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German hospice embarks on exchange programme with Stepping Stone Hospice

A multi-purpose hygiene shower chair allowing clinical staff to provide sensitive, high-quality hygiene care whilst maintaining the patient's dignity, was recently donated to Stepping Stone Hospice by the Känguru Institute for the Disabled in Klipriver.

The Känguru Institute is supported by the German non-profit company IFB Inklusion durch Förderung und Betreuung e.V. Its owner, Wolfgang Groh, visited Stepping Stone Hospice a few months ago whilst on a visit to South Africa. He was so impressed with what he saw, that he invited Stepping Stone Hospice CEO, Tersia Burger, to participate in an exchange programme whereby skills and knowledge can be exchanged to the betterment of palliative care on a national and international level.

Wolfgang also undertook to donate equipment where and when possible, resulting in the shower chair being donated.

"We can never deny such an opportunity," said Tersia at the handing over of the chair. Apart from supporting the Känguru Institute here in South Africa, Wolfgang's company also manages six other non-profit organizations in Germany of which a hospice in Wiesbaden, Hospiz ADVENA, is one.

As a start to the exchange programme, Annette Hohmann-Hard, manager of the nurses at Hospiz ADVENA, was sent to Stepping Stone Hospice by Wolfgang on a 3-week learning and sharing programme.

"Though our In-Patient Unit has 16 beds as opposed to the eight beds here at Stepping Stone Hospice, the care is very much on the same level," Annette explains. "I believe the major difference lies in the funding models of hospice care. In Germany, our health systems fund 95% of hospice care which means that we only need to raise funds for the remaining 5% shortfall. Unfortunately it seems that it is quite the opposite here in South Africa, which is really a shame," she comments.

Annette and her husband Klaus, will return to Germany on the 7th of November after which Tersia is scheduled to pay their hospice a visit in January next year.

Caption: The various functionalities of the multi-purpose hygiene shower chair being demonstrated to Stepping Stone Hospice CEO, Tersia Burger.

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