After operating in a small single room for nearly four years, Thika Hospice is undergoing renovation to offer end of life care to more patients.

Once the renovation is complete, the hospice would have two consultation rooms to cater for more patients simultaneously.

Initially, only one patient at a time could be attended to at the small room. Even space for keeping of drugs was limited.

Ann Wambui, a volunteer nurse at the hospice said that funds for the renovation were provided by the Constituency Development Fund of Juja.

“The renovation would enable us cater for more clients. With two consultation rooms, we can easily have a patient on hydration while other patients are being attended to.” Wambui said.

She said that handling one patient at a time limited the number of clients they could attend to.

Despite having limited space to offer their services, Wambui said the hospice managed to attend to 148 new patients in 2012.

Thika Hospice offers counseling services to patients, their families and caretakers both at the hospice and at home.

Dorcas Njeri, a volunteer nurse at the hospice said that most caretakers are not family members of the patient.

“They go through much trauma which we have to take care of through counseling.” She said.

She said that most patients come with a note from the doctor without knowledge of the diagnosis and prognosis. “This means we have to start from breaking the bad news to the patient and proceed with counseling and symptom management, which are core areas in palliative care.”

Dorcas said their clients respond well to hospice care but sited finances as a challenge hindering their service provision.

“We cannot make many home visits because we do not have a vehicle. For the few home visits we have done, we hire a vehicle and fuel it which limits us on the number of clients we can see at home.”

This financial constraints, she said, limits them from seeing patient living far away from the hospice hence concentrating on areas around Thika, despite having patients from far areas making requests to be visited at home.

Services offered at the hospice include home visits, bereavement support, cancer symptom management and they hope to begin day care sessions soon.

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