Thursday, February 14, 2013

Home visits with Penny

I was so excited to have the opportunity to travel in the field visiting patients and families with social worker Penny.  Being a social worker by training, I had the opportunity to visit with Penny when she traveled to the US in November as a part of our exchange program - Hospice Wits and Suncoast Hospice. Today, we traveled the roads in Soweto, some paved and some not, to visit a few of Penny's patients.

The first was a woman living with AIDS, who resided with her daughter and granddaughter in a 8 x 10 hut made of cardboard, blankets and tin.  Penny assessed the patient's need for a food parcel and the possibility of moving to another location providing better shelter, while the community care worker (hospice aide) gently massaged her hands and arms to counteract the effects of her neuropathy. 

They all spoke in their native language, Zulu.  The universal language of hospice was understood by all of us, even though we never said a word, other than greetings and goodbyes.  The patient was so appreciative of everything Hospice Wits has done and could do for her... and thanked, us...the American visitors, for taking the time to visit with her.  Can you imagine...she thanked, us....just for being there. Another lesson in the power of presence.

Susan Bruno

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