This study seeks to understand palliative care interventions used by professional nurses and Community Health Workers (CHWs) in the rural areas. This study also involves individual and focus group interviews and collection of digital narratives that tell the story of good palliative care provided at the end of life. The purpose of this study is to describe the cultural context of death and dying in SA and to describe the palliative care practices and self-reported competencies in these practices by CHWS and Professional Nurses in the Vhembe District in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Since nurses are more common than doctors in this part of the world, they have a very important role to play in integrating this type of care into the current system.
This project has grown out of the larger Community Health in Limpopo (CHIL) project. There was an original study conducted in a non-governmental HIV/AIDS service organization in rural South Africa in Mpumalanga Province. There, three palliative care practices conducted by CHWs emerged: education of patient and family, direct care, and emotional support. During this study two main barriers were identified: limited resources and lack of emotional support for the community health workers.
This study is taking place in Limpopo Province of South Africa in the district of Vhembe. This district is a particularly low-income are in the country and is still feeling the effects of apartheid, which left behind many health issues for community members. This project partners with the University of Venda located in the Vhembe district.