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.
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.
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.