The Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust (HACT) started in 1990 as a Methodist Church led, voluntary organisation caring for individuals with HIV / AIDS.  After six years it started to receive funding from the Department of Health and commenced a homebased care programme.  In 1996 HACT started an income generation programme making beaded AIDS ribbons and this grew to thirty beaders by 2000 and became known by the name Wozo Moya.  After a couple of years it was seen that little progress was being made creating a market for the beadwork and an income generation manager was appointed....they've never looked back! 

The organisation became a respite unit in 2006, initially in a rented ward and then in the purpose built unit in Hillcrest where it continues to operate today. 

woman caring for a patient

HACT have 24 beds in their respite unit and a dedicated team of caring health professionals and support staff who provide nursing care, palliative care, emotional support for the patients and their loved ones and unconditional love and hope.

In the six months to December 2019, 202 patients were admitted to the Respite Unit and of those, 121 have since gained sufficient strength and well-being to return home.  Their recovery is aided by the proactive approach HACT takes to improving each patient's understanding of their condition and their medication regime.  In order to improve the adherence to ongoing medication programmes the team have implemented a new process to take in patients to their local clinic of their medication checks and to collect their supply of ARV's and other drugs.  This means that  the patient is familiar with their local clinic and the staff and it is easier for them to continue to attend regularly once they return home.  Accompanied by hugs, tears and singing, five long-term patients transferred to the newly completed Philakade Care Home facility in November 2019.  Based in the community of Embo in the Valley of 1000 Hills, this facility is dedicated to providing chronic care facilities for both children and adults who do not have private medical aid are are in need of long-term care due to disability or illness.  This new facility should relieve some of the pressure of demand for beds within the HACT Respite unit as well as offering long-term care patients a viable option once they are discharged from HACT.

Sadly, some patients do not return home and for those individuals the Respite Unit provides a comfortable and dignified end to their lives. 

Well being and positivity are hallmarks of the HACT approach and the support team keep the unit in tip top condition.  This was enhanced in September 2019 when all of the nurses, caregivers and support staff received fabulous new scrubs thanks to HACT's Dutch based supporter, the Groot-Haspels Foundation.

In February 2019, local HACT volunteer, Sally Jones painted a beautiful family tree at the entrance to their Respite Unit so they could display the names and photos of each member of the Respite Unit team.

Staff nurse standing in front of a photograph and family tree display

 

This bright and welcoming picture now greets each and every one of our patients and their families and visitors upon arrival and just helps everyone to get to know our team quicker. We are very grateful for Sally’s help in creating this new feature in our Unit!   Sphe Gumede, Respite Unit Nursing Services Manager