Care for the dy­ing gravely lack­ing

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News -

cope with the ter­mi­nally ill.”

At the Jo­han­nes­burg com­mu­nity’s peak in 1980 it had 120,000 mem­bers; there are now some 70,000, in­clud­ing a large pro­por­tion of el­derly peo­ple whose young rel­a­tives have left to start new lives else­where. Rel­a­tives abroad are also find­ing it harder than they once did to pro­vide fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance due to the credit crunch.

In re­sponse, Mrs Danilowitz cham­pi­oned the Nechamah Ap­peal, or Com­fort ap­peal, which be­gan in 2007 and has so far raised in ex­cess of R300,000 (£25,000) for a long-term Jewish frail care unit at Houghton, a hospice in Jo­han­nes­burg. At any given time, Jewish pa­tients make up around 12 per cent of pa­tients in the hospice, which also has a high pro­por­tion of Jewish vol­un­teers and runs cour­ses for care work­ers in two ex­clu­sively Jewish care homes in Jo­han­nes­burg.

The aim is to pro­vide care to those with only three to 12 months to live, sup­port­ing an al­ready-ex­ist­ing Nechamah Ward for Jewish pa­tients.

Ac­cord­ing to Mrs Danilowitz, who be­came in­volved in the hospice move­ment 22 years ago af­ter her best friend died of breast can­cer, the cost of di­rect care alone is over £120,000 per year, ex­clud­ing any cap­i­tal ex­penses.

“The money we are rais­ing now is for the on­go­ing costs of main­te­nance of the wards and equip­ment, and to­wards the treat­ment costs of the pa­tients that can­not af­ford to pay. We can pro­vide pal­lia­tive care, psy­choso­cial coun­selling, and, where neces- sary, in-pa­tient ser­vices, al­low­ing the in­di­vid­ual to pass away peace­fully and pain­lessly, and with the dig­nity be­fit­ting a Jew and a hu­man be­ing.” Nick Ryan is au­thor of ‘Home­land: Into a World of Hate’

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