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Hospice partnership to ensure legal rights of the terminally ill


In a world where so many urgent social problems need tackling, two heads are surely better than one.
It is for this reason that Legal Aid South Africa and the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which will ensure protection of the legal rights of patients in palliative care.
HPCA is a national association of 156 hospices. Its mandate is to promote quality of life for people living with life-threatening illness, dignity in death and support in bereavement by supporting member hospices and partner organisations.
The purpose of the MOU between Legal Aid SA and HPCA is to support patients who are in hospice care with legal assistance by creating  a link between our Justice Centres  and the hospices to ensure  that legal services are accessible and within reach. Legal Aid SA will also visit hospices to assist patients who are unable to reach their offices (when capacity allows), through outreach initiatives.
HPCA has started a legal training/orientation for social workers and care-workers with Legal Aid staff members, which engages a variety of legal concepts including family law and the law of succession, to assist in the provision of care for patients and families.
The MOU between Legal Aid SA and HPCA is aimed at achieving the following:
• To assist in the provision of legal information and legal support to HPCA during training sessions with social workers and care-workers.
• To provide access to legal advice and legal assistance to palliative care patients.
• To provide palliative care information to Legal Aid SA, with updates on new information from the palliative care sector.
• To create an institutional network between the parties.
• To provide a frame work on how the service will be facilitated.
• To develop a relationship of reciprocity between the two parties.
“This MOU partnership is essential. With increasing challenges in this country, there is no way a single sector can do it alone.  When you get it right, you get incredible results,” said Legal Aid SA spokesperson, Mpho Phasha.

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