Barrydale Hospice | About Us
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About Us

Our mission is to:
  • offer palliative care which integrates the physical, social, emotional and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients;
  • alleviate suffering and enhance quality of life in patients with active, progressive and advanced disease;
  • support the family;
  • and implement educational programs to prevent the spread of disease.

We are governed by a board of seven members and a constitution registered with the department of social development.

Chairperson:  Dr Karen Van Heerden

Board Members

Nola Frazer (Secretary)

Vincent Uren (Treasurer)

Sister Joana Van Der Merwe (Medical Manager)

Mrs Freda Brock (Board Member)

Mr Shane Petzer (Board Member)

Mr Richard Alexander (Board Member)

Background to Barrydale

Barrydale has a population of approximately 6 000 people; most of whom are historically disadvantaged South Africans. A further 3 000 people live and work on farms surrounding Barrydale and within a 30 kilometres radius. This is the catchment area which Barrydale Hospice already serves.

Barrydale is no different from other rural towns in the Western Cape, South Africa.  There is a significant proportion of elderly in the population who must contrive to manage on their fixed incomes/state grants. The town is served by two government schools, several rural primary-level farm schools, a social worker, a provincial clinic and by emergency services vehicles with crew whose numbers fluctuate. The clinic operates 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week. There is no resident doctor, dentist or pharmacist and the closest private medical facilities and provincial hospital are in Swellendam which is situated some 50 kilometres from Barrydale. There is no regular public transport system to enable less fortunate residents to travel to Swellendam for health care and consequently many people go untreated or receive haphazard or inadequate treatment in contravention of their basic constitutional rights.

With a limited schooling system and a shortage of resources the youth face difficult challenges on leaving school. Job opportunities outside of agriculture are extremely limited and consequently many of our youth migrate to larger towns to pursue career opportunities, leaving behind the the unskilled workers and older residents.

Background to Barrydale Hospice

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.

Barrydale Hospice Premises

Swellendam Municipality resolved to dispose of 8 cottages situated in Van Riebeeck Street, Barrydale and certain adjacent property which Barrydale Hospice has signed an agreement to purchase with a view to these cottages being used for Hospice activities solely, as required by Swellendam Municipality. Transfer is taking place. Currently, and pending transfer of ownership, Barrydale Hospice rents three of these cottages with two Barrydale Hospice patients currently being cared for in two rented cottages by the resident Palliative Care Nursing Sister (who now occupies the third rented cottage). The remaining 5 cottages are currently occupied by tenants of Swellendam Municipality whose leases Barrydale Hospice will inherit. Barrydale Hospice intends to operate more formally out of these premises once transfer takes place.

Improving the quality of life of hospice patients and their families