Sister Joana van der Merwe was the Manager of the Barrydale State Clinic for many years prior to her retirement in February 2013. Having become accustomed to nursing terminally ill patients in their homes she recognised the urgent need for hospice care in the village and Barrydale Hospice was created in May 2013. Under an arrangement with Swellendam’s Langeberg Hospice, she worked in both Swellendam and Barrydale until Barrydale Hospice began functioning autonomously in September 2016 when it became a registered Non-Profit Organisation.
To operate an autonomous hospice, the Sister in charge must hold the Hospice Palliative Care Nursing Sister qualification which Sr van der Merwe obtained in 2014. In addition, Barrydale Hospice was registered by SARS as a Public Benefit Organisation which enables it to issue Section 18A receipts entitling the donor to a tax deduction for donations made.
In Barrydale chronic conditions such as hypertension, asthma, COPD, diabetes, mental health conditions and epilepsy are regularly treated at the understaffed state clinic.