1. What is your name?
Sheila de Maroussem
2. Which hospice do you work for?
Msunduzi Hospice Association
3. What do you do there?
Palliative Care Manager
4. How long have you been there?
1 ½ Years
1. Why did you decide to focus on palliative care?
I’ve always been passionate about individualised patient care. It’s a privilege to render this care in the privacy and comfort of the patients’ home.
2. What gives you the greatest fulfilment?
My greatest fulfilment is when a patients’ hope is restored and they are no longer afraid on their journey. Also, when family members feel supported and comforted simply through advice from a Palliative Care Nurse.
3. What do you find the most challenging?
– When patients seek palliative care services late (late referrals).
– Family members’ personal fears hinder patient care, lack of understanding of the dying process.
– Poverty and lack of resources.
– Poor advocacy for palliative care in the Health sector.
4. What do you think people find the most challenging about a life-threatening diagnosis?
– Loss of control and fear of acceptance.
– Loss of income.
– Loss of status within the family, community or corporate.
5. What do you think that you personally bring to your job that reflects who you are as a person?
I am forever hopeful – when hope is restored in patients, they shift from being concerned about symptoms to spending quality time with family and this time is more meaningful.
6. How do you take care of your own health and balance?
I read a lot about palliative care in order to foster resilience when challenges arise especially now in the Covid era. I have a strong Christian faith and translate biblical principles into day to day activities to fill my cup.
7. What is your advice to anyone else wishing to join your profession?
Palliative care is not for everyone. An individual needs to be passionate about this sub-speciality and all that it entails.
8. What is your advice to anyone given a life-threatening diagnosis?
Take it one step at a time, make use of resources and support services available to you early. Seek palliative care services as early as possible.
9. What is your advice to the loved ones of anyone who is given a life-threatening diagnosis?
My advice would be to seek palliative care services early. Do not allow fear to overwhelm you and also to do what is right/beneficial for the patient.
10. How do your loved ones feel about the work that you do?
My husband does not quite understand it, but appreciates the benefits and support that palliative care offers. My siblings still think I work in an old age home.
11. What do you like the most about the hospice that you work with?
Msunduzi Hospice Association is the go to place for advice and anything really. The community knows that Hospice will “help”. It is a well-run organisation with a dedicated group of people.
12. Do you have a “motto” that you tend to live by that you would like to share?
“Let your grace speak”