About Us

St Joseph’s for Chronically Ill Children:

Responding to the needs of our time.

 

Introduction: St Joseph’s Home (SJH) for Chronically Ill Children is a registered non-profit organization which has been a pioneer in the field of paediatric intermediate health care in South Africa. We provide free transitional care for chronically ill children from disadvantaged families, from hospital to home through a holistic health and wellness programme.  Patients are referred from State Hospitals to continue with post-acute, restorative, palliative and rehabilitative care.

Our work: We provide 24 hour specialised and general nursing care; multi-disciplinary interventions like rehabilitation (physio-, occupational- and speech therapy) social work and psychological support, on site school education, parental empowerment, specialised nutrition, logistical support, pastoral care, outreach and follow-up visits and volunteer placement programmes.

Our Vision: We strive to be recognised as an outstanding non-profit healthcare organization providing nursing and rehabilitation to medically fragile children in the spirit of Christian love and devotion.

Our History: Located in Montana, Cape Town, the facility was established in 1935 by the Pallottine Missionary Sisters. This followed after children were left destitute after the 1930 Great Depression. More than 23,000 Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) have been cared for over a period of 83 years.

Early days in Philippi: The Sisters introduced a nursing care, educational and a rehab programme for the children.

For the past 83 years, SJH has always responded to the changing needs of our time: 

  • When the HIV/Aids epidemic became prevalent, the Home opened a new ward for HIV/Aids children in 2002.
  • Eight years ago, a strategic decision was made to expand our service delivery to include a paediatric rehabilitation service. The need for a community based rehabilitation service was identified by the acute hospitals from which our children are referred. We took up the challenge despite the many risks we faced, e.g. lack of professional rehab staff, funding and the physical facilities needed to provide such a service. The “needs of the time” ethos, on which our service is founded, urged us on. With input from the referring doctors substantiating the need for such a service, we drew presented proposals and approached various donors to assist us with the funding of the project.
  • Finally, in 2012, The Children’s Hospital Trust agreed to fund a pilot project for a three-year period.
  • 2013 saw the introduction of the new Intermediate Care Policy by Western Cape Government Health (WCGH) and this became a game changer with SJH having to adapt to patients staying for shorter periods and appoint carers rather than nurses.
  • Late 2014 extensive renovations started. This was the result of a generous overseas donation, ring fenced for the benefit of the children. This presented an opportunity to build our envisaged rehabilitation hub and we were no longer constrained by the limitations of the existing building. SJH is now the beneficiary of a world class, child friendly facility in which we can truly deliver our services optimally.
  • September 2016 the rehab pilot was concluded. Based on the outcomes report of the pilot, and trends, SJH decided that it could not ignore the plight of children who needed rehab and decided to integrate the pilot rehab service and its staff into its holistic care plan for its patients. SJH takes on an additional shortfall of R1,8 million per year.
  • 2016: the first ward dedicated to rehab patients was opened.
  • 2017: Rehabilitation and nursing services became fully integrated – We offer a free 24-hour service all year round to children with life limiting and life threatening conditions.

 A patient needs specialised nursing care.             

 

Patients enjoy the new child friendly spaces

 

Our story so far…

During this past year, we cared for 271 children of which 266 were in-patients and 5 out-patients. This intake was less than our normal intake due to limited bed capacity as a result of the alterations but all five wards became fully operational again in January 2017.

  • The number of referrals for rehabilitation continue to grow (74) and comprised 27% of our total patient intake.
  • The number of patients referred for purely medical reasons was 172 (63%),
  • Those referred for both medical and rehabilitation 24 (9%),
  • The majority of our rehab patients (35%) were admitted for trauma and neurological and orthopaedic conditions requiring nursing and rehabilitation. South Africa, according to the WHO’s report, is still the country with the highest number of motor car accidents, which also refers to pedestrian accidents. The second largest intake of patients was for those suffering from tuberculosis/HIV/AIDS at (30%) and the third highest category was Oncology (7%). We are treating more and more children requiring rehabilitation and fewer children with diabetes and cancer than before.