New Therapy Ward for Nelspoort Hospital
Nelspoort Hospital celebrated the opening of their new therapy ward on Wednesday 19 August 2015. The ward which is used by mental health patients was completed earlier this year at a cost of R7,5 million. Additional equipment and interior alterations at a cost of R1,5 million was also added to the facility.
“The Western Cape Government Health is proud of the newly built therapy ward at the Nelspoort Hospital. This much needed upgrade will now provide the patients with improved, higher quality services. The mental health patients will benefit immensely from this newly added therapy ward. We are putting patients at the centre of our approach to healthcare provision in order to improve patient experiences at our facilities and improve the quality of care” said Western Cape Minister of Health, dr. Nomafrench Mbombo.
Forty to sixty mental health patients are treated at the facility per month. It is in the therapy ward that they participate in activities offered by an occupational therapist. The extra space allowed by the new ward has made it easier to do all the activities. Activities include needle-, paper-, and woodwork. They also do pottery, beading and weaving. These products are sold at their shop within the ward. " Patients are actively participating in their rehabilitation by finishing a product", said Occupational Therapist Rozaan Jonker. There are also computers for use by patients with higher cognitive functioning. Nelspoort Hospital is a long term facility and some patients will spend their entire life here, therefore it is important to keep them occupied with meaningful activities to prevent the development of secondary conditions and behavioural problems. The oldest resident is 74 year old and has been at the facility for 42 years. Patients come from Lentegeur Hospital, Valkenberg Hospital as well as the rest of the Southern Cape and Karoo region. Psychiatrists visit the facility once a month.
Nelspoort Hospital caters for both tuberculosis (TB) and mental health patients. The TB patients include multidrug-resistant TB (MDR) and extreme drug-resistant (XDR) patients. XDR patients are mostly from Brooklyn Chest Hospital and MDR patients from Harry Comay in George. Sensitive TB patients are from the Central Karoo.
Nelspoort Hospital History
The Nelspoort Hospital, a 92-bed facility with 64 staff members, is situated in Nelspoort, a small community several kilometres outside of Beaufort West.
Nelspoort was the first tuberculosis hospital in South Africa. Dr Alfred Jasper Anderson was appointed medical officer of health in Cape Town in 1881 and was appalled by the health hazards of the city. The enormous death rate due to respiratory and other diseases shocked him. Tuberculosis was rampant, yet there was continuous news of miracle cures being achieved in the Karoo. Cape Town doctors investigated and discovered many who swore breathing the fresh, clear , crisp air had cured their ailments. Then in 1911, philanthropist John Garlick, founder of one of the country’s leading departmental stores, joined Dr Anderson’s Society for the Prevention of Consumption. Garlick was appalled at the toll tuberculosis was taking. The death rate terrified him, and he vowed to "stem this dreadful tide." The search for a suitable location began. Places such as Cradock, Graaff-Reinet, Mortimer, Matjiesfontein, Touws River, Fraserburg Road now (Leeu Gamka) and Beaufort West, were evaluated.
Eventually it was decided that an 8 154 morgen farm in the Salt River area of the Nuweveld Mountains, 40 km north of Beaufort West, would be ideal. It had a railway station and an excellent supply of water. The land was fertile, and much had already been planted to lucerne. There were orchards, gardens and sufficient grazing for cattle and sheep. And the price was right. It was acquired for only £17 800. The contract for the Nelspoort Sanatorium was signed on 12 April 1924.
The first admission was on 5 May 1924.
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Eden and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health
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