In our first 5 months of operation we had 11 families that we provided care for; in the past 6 months this number has grown to 28 registered families as the word has spread. We are situated in Cape Town’s Northern and services a large area stretching from beyond Durbanville to Maitland .
As we don’t as yet have a property of our own, we provide all our care services at the children’s homes. Our founder Sue van der Linde trained with Julia’s House in Dorset UK and has her NVQ level 3 assessor qualifications in special needs child care. On returning to South Africa she realized the urgent need for a Charity to assist the families of special needs children. Sue ensures our care team is fully trained to provide quality professional care to our often very complicated Children.
Each care team member also completes their level one first aid course and all are in possession of a valid police clearance certificate. All this occurs prior to a care team member being sent to a family.
Once a referral is received, a full health and safety inspection is carried out at the premises, as well as a needs analysis for the child. An individual care plan is drawn up in conjunction with the parents, and sits are allocated. Care team members are carefully “matched” to each child to ensure bonding and stability of care for the child.
Our Children suffer from various syndromes including Cri du Chat syndrome, Johansen Blizard Syndrome, low functioning autism and severe Cerebral Palsy. The majority of our children are none verbal and communication is encouraged by means of play therapy, Ipad and pecs.
Our trained care team members arrive at a child’s home fully equipped with a medical bag and play box with toys specially selected for each child. During a four hour community based care sit the carer provides personal care for the child, physical therapy exercises as prescribed, play, stimulation and also ensure that documented medication and feeds are given on time. This enables are often exhausted parents to have some much needed “time off” for themselves and other siblings. In the case of a child with several medical complications E.g.The child has a history of severe seizures two carers will be allocated per sit.
Our families come from a variety of backgrounds and income groups. Iris House assist’s with the purchase of equipment, food parcels, electricity and clothing We also provide various outings for our Children, spoil days for Moms (this Mothers day we took our Mom’s for high tea at the Cape Grace) and days out for Dads and siblings. From July we will be able to offer sibling counseling, provided by our latest volunteer who is a qualified play therapist.
All our care team members are currently ladies and volunteers. Our amazing ladies give up their mornings for training, evenings and weekends to do sits and often evenings during the week to assist with fundraising. These ladies ARE Iris House – without their dedication to making a difference in the lives of these children and their families we simple would not function. Our youngest care team member is 20 years of age and a university student, our eldest is a retired lady of 66.
It is our aim to have a suitable building in the Northern Suburbs accessible to our current families and any more we are not able to currently reach by the end of 2012. At our Hospice we can provide our full range of “living hospice” services. These will include day care sessions, therapy, overnight care, and short respite care and importantly end of life care. We will also continue the very popular home based community care program and hope to grow this to other areas.
The care of Special Needs children is often overlooked and as such there are very few facilities available to assist with their care and to support the families. Our children, deserve the opportunity to live their lives to the full, it is our duty to increase their quality of life. It is not a natural sequence of events for a child to pass away before their parents. We support our families to deal with these issues and to come to terms with their child’s syndrome. We focus on what a child CAN do not what they Can’t!
Sue van der Linde Founder Iris House Children's Hospice Quality Care for the Child - Supporting the family www.iris-house.org Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/IrisHouseChildrensHospice
Tel: 021 5590800 Charity Number 2011/004180/08
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