NEW LEADERSHIP TO ENSURE QUALITY PALLIATIVE CARE FOR ALL
As the world acknowledged World Hospice Palliative Care Day on 12 October, HPCA (Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa) is poised to ensure that their vision of providing palliative care for all, is realised. With global health specialist, Dr. Ewa Skowronska, at the helm as executive director, the 103 member hospices will take their place as centres of excellence in palliative care in all nine provinces within the SA health-care system in a time of uncertainty.
“I am excited about heading up the organisation and making a contribution to much-needed palliative care in this country. I strongly believe that cost effective, quality care can be provided in patient’s home & that community-based continuity of care is feasible following initiation of palliative care management plan at health care facility,” states Dr. Skowronska.
A medical doctor who trained at the University of Warsaw, Poland, and a Master of Public Health graduatefrom Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, US,Dr. Skowronska is a passionate leader with more than a decade’sexperience in management of international NGOs in Africa. She has executed global clinical research programmes for 14 countries in Europe, Middle East, and sub-Saharan Africa. In SA she was executive director of the Topsy Foundation and technical advisor and senior operations manager for mothers2mothers, before taking the reins at HPCA in August 2019.
Dr. Skowronska will be responsible for strategic and operational direction at HPCA and overall technical support for quality Palliative Care for All in South Africa. Her 15 year’s diverse experience in the public and private sector will stand her in good stead as she guides both state services and private services to integrate palliative care into healthcare services.
“The vital step in implementing the National Policy Framework and Strategy for Palliative Care is to ensure training of healthcare professionals and to measure quality of care through standards and assessment of patient-reported outcomes,” says Dr. Skowronska.
“The mission of HPCA is to promote quality of life, dignity of death, and support in bereavement to all living with life-threatening illness by supporting member hospices and partner organisations. The umbrella organisation supports hospices through advocacy, training, education, research, mentorship, accreditation, monitoring and evaluation of the delivery of palliative care. It is my privilege to now be part of this community of caring,” says Dr. Skowronska.
Hospices have been providing palliative care since the 1980s.We have a strong national network of hospices who have led the provision of care and support services to patients and their families for several decades and who have been instrumental in advancing education and training of health care providers.Hospices provide patients and their families with specialized holistic, multidisciplinary medical care and psychological, social, and spiritual support, with 97% of care given in patients’ homes. The remaining 3% are cared for in hospice In-patient Units (IPUs) managed by hospices where patients can be admitted for symptom control or family respite.