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Cape Town
Sunday, December 10, 2023

ST Lukes's Hospice

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  • We care for about 800 patients on any one day
  • More than a quarter of our patients are between the ages of 20 and 35
  • 40% of our patients have AIDS
  • 60% of our patients have cancer
  • We have 12 community hospices spread throughout Cape Town
  • We have almost 200 staff
  • We have more than 650 volunteers
  • Most of our patients are cared for in their own homes
  • We have 2 wards, one in Kenilworth and one in Mitchell’s Plain
  • St Luke’s Hospice service is available 24hrs a day – a Community Sister is available from 08H30 to 16H30 Monday to Friday and a
  • telephonic advisory service is available from 16H30 to 08H30 weekdays. Weekends the service is available 24hrs telephonically.
  • We care for our patients without cost to the patient (unless the patient has a medical aid – we will then submit an invoice to that medical aid)
  • Our service costs more than R20 million per year
  • We raise our funds from the general public, big corporate & a small percentage is given to us by the State toward Home Based Care and
  • the ward in Mitchell’s Plain.
  • Many people remember St Luke’s Hospice in their wills

History of St Luke’s
In March 1980 the first formal meeting of the directors of St Luke’s Hospice took place following the visit to Cape Town Dame Cecily Saunders, the world renowned initiator of the hospice concept. The organization was officially incorporated as a non-profit company on 13 August 1980, to care for all people in need of its services regardless of their ability to pay, or of the class, colour or creed.
St Luke’s started working in the in patient care field in 1982. At this time the St Luke’s Hospice offices were situated at the Vincent Palotti Hospital in Pinelands. Then they were moved to a home in Trill Road Observatory but it became obvious that the premises were too small and with the help of the Lombardi Family Trust in 1985 the present Kenilworth property was acquired.
In September 1985 a Day Care Centre commenced operations, initially for one day a week only.
In January 1986 the Lombardi Ward opened, providing six in patient beds. This was the first unit of its kind in the Western Cape. Towards the end of 1986 the Bereavement Counselling service commenced, providing a telephone counselling follow-up service to families of deceased patients for an appropriate period.
In May 1987 approval to build a twenty bed extension was granted, following the financial support of the Hon, George Borwick. This unit, which included a large atrium, medical clinics, additional offices and a chapel, was opened on 18th January 1988 by the Administrator of the Cape Province, Mr Gene Louw. Since then unfortunately owing to the high costs of staffing such a large unit, only ten of the beds have been utilized or are able to be used.
During the time from 1989 to 1992 St Luke’s Hospice developed very rapidly into a well established facility at Kenilworth rendering palliative care to dying people and their families.
The Board of Directors then decided to take a big step forward by taking the hospice concept into the community. It was decided to encourage communities to have their own hospices, which would be branches of St Luke’s but owned and run by a committee from the community.
In October 2001, the then CEO of St Luke’s Hospice was approached by the Provincial Department of Health to open an IPU for terminally ill HIV/AIDS patients. During January 2002 a 16 Bedded ward was opened on the grounds of the Conradie Hospital Pinelands. As Conradie Hospital was decommissioned during 2003, the ward moved to Lentegeur Hospital where it still is today. At present it can accommodate 20 patients. Through the expansion of the ARV Treatment programme and the subsequent drop in the number of terminally ill AIDS patients, the in patient unit became a centre to which patients could be admitted at the start of their ARV treatment. The service in the in-patient unit became more “curative” in nature.
The spiritual support team always felt the need for a “quiet room” where patients and their relatives could go when the need was there. With the assistance of a donation of the Oasis Group it was possible for us to convert the old gazebo in the garden of the Kenilworth ward into “The Oasis” which was opened during November 2007.
During April 2009, the book “To say thank you and serve” compiled by Rosemary Hickman, was launched. This book tells “The Story of St Luke’s Hospice” but it can also be used as a broader reference document because it covers the development of Hospices throughout the world, the organisations relationships to other hospices and the Hospice Palliative Care Association.

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