FAQs

Have a question about what Island Hospice does, or how we can help? Click on the frequently asked question below to expand the answer.

What kind of patients does Island assist?

Island provides the best possible quality of life for patients and their families facing life threatening and chronic diseases such as cancer, HIV, diabetes, hypertension, TB etc. Services include, palliative care, bereavement counselling, psychosocial support programmes and training and capacity building in any of these areas.

Do you charge for your services and medication?

We never turn anyone away but for those that are able we do request a small service fee. This enables us to continue to support those that are unable to pay for services. We have simply costed the service we deliver. If patients are able to pay, we are grateful for a donation. If not, we do not turn them away. However, sometimes we find it difficult to provide the full service we would like to deliver because of a shortage of funds therefore we do appeal for donations and sponsorship.

Do you have to be dying to come to Island?

No. We care for people from the point of diagnosis regardless of the immediate outcome of condition. We also care for those who are bereaved, or those caring for a sick loved one.

How does a patient come under the care of Island?

You can just come. If you are referring a patient, we will give you a Referral form from Island to be completed by the doctor.  An assessment will be made and consultations will follow. Our office hours are Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. We are on 6 Natal Road, Belgravia. Bereavement referrals can be made by phone 701674 – 7 or personally at our office.

How do I tell a patient the truth about how close to death they are?

Usually the patient asks leading questions. We encourage you to then ask the patient how they think they are doing. You do not ever lie to patient and family but rather have the patient/family reflect on the illness themselves and tell us how they see the patient’s condition. Additionally you can come to Island and we assign a nurse / doctor and counsellor to pay a visit to the patient to help the family understand and cope with the progression of illness.

Won't people just give up if they know they are dying?

No there is always hope. We help you to find the balance of hope and a realistic assessment of their illness. Most people still want to live for as long as possible.

Should children be allowed to see someone who is very sick?

Yes, they are part of the family and should be included with age appropriate explanations. In our attempt to shield or protect the child from the situation we can make them feel left out of, or even somehow responsible for, what is going on.

When I visit a bereaved friend, should I talk about the bereavement or will it just upset them?

Usually a bereaved friend will appreciate the opportunity to talk about the person who has died. Sometimes they are upset already but may put on a brave face as they believe that you feel uncomfortable with their sadness.

Won't someone on morphine for pain get addicted?

No. Morphine is absorbed by the pain receptors and with the correct dosage you will not become addicted. Should morphine be advised for you or a family member, the Island Nurses will explain fully exactly how it works.

What is the difference between 'Hospice' & 'Palliative Care'?

Both palliative care and hospice care provide comfort. But palliative care can begin at diagnosis, and at the same time as treatment. Hospice care begins after treatment of the disease is stopped and when it is clear that the person is not going to survive the illness.

How can I help my children with their grief when I am grieving too?

It can be difficult to know how to help a child cope with a loss, particularly as you work through your own grief. Children’s understanding about death depends on their age and previous experiences. Be honest with your child and encourage questions even though you may not have all of the answers. It is important to create an atmosphere of openness, and assure them that there is no right or wrong way to feel. Encourage the child to talk about how he/she feels. You may at some stage wish to access some bereavement counselling and support for your child. If you are also grieving it is important to care for your own needs too, and express your feelings about the loss to family and friends. You may want to call Island to ask for bereavement counselling for yourself.

My sister is dying in Nyanga. If Island does not reach there, what support can I arrange for her?

Island Hospice and Healthcare is easily accessible through phone contact. Medication can be collected if Island has seen the patient for assessment. We do offer phone advisory follow up service to rural patients in all areas if they have been referred to Island.

Is Island Hospice operational in the rural areas?

We are present in Harare, Chitungwiza, Goromonzi, Zvishavane, Gwanda, and Mutoko. For those areas we are not able to physically cover, call us so we can tell you about alternatives.

Now that I am pain free, does it mean that I have been cured of the disease?

No, it may be that your pain is well managed or the disease is in remission.

What can I do if my doctor refuses to refer me to Island?

As a patients have the right to ask questions and receive explanations you can understand. Additionally you can speak with our clinical team comprising nurses and doctors or one of our counsellors who can advise you on how to get a referral form signed by your present doctor.

If I start on morphine does it mean it is the end?

No, morphine only controls your pain. There are many who are prescribed morphine and live full lives. Morphine does not hasten death.

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