Iris House Children’s Hospice is a special needs children’s hospice based in the northern suburbs of Cape Town. They are the only facility in the county using the respite care model modus operandi. They provide palliative care services to children with special needs with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions. The hospice is registered with the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA). It is also a member of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN).
Currently they provide community-based respite care and extensive support to 155 families of children with conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism and other severe neurological syndromes. Iris House Children’s Hospice provides services to families across the greater Cape Town Metropole area as well as in Saldanha and Vredenburg in the West Coast District.
Community-based respite care visits usually last about 4 hours and allows for the primary caregivers to have some time off. The visits include the following activities: Personal care of the patient, physical therapy and exercise, play, stimulation games and if necessary, the carers ensure that any scheduled medication and meals are taken on time.
Iris House Children’s Hospice has recently opened Phase 1 of its newly renovated hospice building and is now able to provide respite care for patients for a whole day. Here patients are paired with their own carer for the day and are able to experience specialist play and music therapy sessions in a caring, home-away-from home environment. A sensory room filled with high-tech interactive sound and lighting equipment has just been completed.
In addition, they also provide the following services:
- Training and support for community-based respite carers
- Support packages and equipment for families
- Bereavement support
Future plans for Iris House Children’s Hospice include the following:
- Emergency overnight care room with 24 hour care staff on duty.
- End-of-life care family-room: giving parents the opportunity to say their final goodbye to their child in a dignified, caring environment, supported by the Iris House Care Team and counselors.
- Equine therapy sessions – helping our children and young adults to communicate, relax and bond with the Iris House ponies.
- Aqua therapy sessions in a heated, enclosed swimming pool with trained therapists to ensure good muscle tone for children with Cerebral Palsy and syndromes affecting muscle tone.
- Sensory garden and walkway for children to enjoy with their carers, siblings and parents.
- Remembrance wall for ashes and a garden of reflection for parents of children who have passed
How can you help? Iris-House Children’s Hospice is a non-profit organisation which provides their services free of charge to 155 families. They are therefore dependent on sponsorship and donations to cover all of their operational costs. In addition, they would also appreciate any time, expertise or goods that could be donated that would help them with the work they do. Please visit their website for more information on how you could assist them at www.iris-house.org.