Fourth year UKZN Psychiatry Nursing students celebrated 2017 Human Rights Day by hosting a Pamper Day for the elderly at Hepburn House at the Natal Settlers Memorial Homes in Durban.
The students educated the elderly on their Human Rights and interacted with them in group and creative activities such as painting, colouring in, puzzles, ball skills, musical entertainment and dancing.
Each resident received hand and foot massages, manicures and were treated to delicious snacks.
‘For many elderly people, living in a nursing home can be a very emotional and stressful time,’ said student nurse, Ms Halalisile Buthelezi. ‘The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”.’
Buthelezi and four other students - Mr Thabani Dlamini, Ms Olivia Gopaul, Ms Nomzamo Gumede and Ms Leashni Moodley - addressed the elderly and their care givers on the importance of holistic care.
‘The right to health care is about more than the right of access to medicines and doctors – although this is very important,’ said Gopaul. ‘It is also about the duty to ensure that people live in conditions that do not harm their health, but rather promote and fulfil it. This duty to respect the right to health does not lie only with governments but with health care providers as well.’
The team believes that holistic care is a model where a care givers’ behaviour recognises a person as a whole and acknowledges biological, social, psychological, and spiritual aspects. ‘Unfortunately, healthcare providers often neglect this model and consider patients’ physical needs only,’ said Moodley.
Due to lack of holistic care, the students have developed and started implementing the Impilo 360 Project. ‘The project aims to improve and stimulate physical, mental and social health and well-being at Hepburn House through education provided to nursing personnel and the integration of physical and cognitive stimuli in the daily lives of the residents,’ said Gumede.
‘Living in nursing homes can be very lonely and stressful for many of our senior citizens. However, when appropriate interventions are implemented, these elderly people can enjoy the final chapter of their lives with a sense of dignity and self-esteem, enhancing their quality of life,’ said Dlamini.