GSH opens dedicated space for family counselling and bereavement support | Western Cape Government


GSH opens dedicated space for family counselling and bereavement support

9 February 2024

Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) opens dedicated space for family counselling and bereavement support

Groote Schuur Hospital is proud to launch a dedicated space for family counselling and bereavement support. The need for a private and comforting space to engage and support families in difficult and highly emotional circumstances was identified through the Transplant Centre of Excellence project at Groote Schuur Hospital. It is in response to the need for a space to debrief and support families through the immense grief of losing a loved one.

This dedicated space has been made possible through the collaboration of role-players from Groote Schuur Hospital’s intensive care and emergency units, transplant centre, social work and palliative care teams, and psychologists, as well as the organisations BoneSA and Vitanova.

Groote Schuur Hospital believes that by investing time in supporting and engaging families, we are creating a safe space for families to ask questions about death in an acute setting, whether anticipated or unanticipated, and where they have access to counselling and bereavement services. Families will be supported by trained social workers, palliative care and psychological support teams, as well as donation coordinators should they want to explore the option of donating their loved one’s organs to someone in need.

"Dedicating a space to support end-of-life-care and bereavement is meaningful for patients, families and staff. This is also why we offer the opportunity to consider organ donation. We’ve found that donation is something that offers solace to families long down the line from their tragedy and grief. Besides providing bereavement support and counselling, this centre can link multiple role players in these extremely difficult end-of-life situations,” explains Dr David Thomson Consultant Surgeon Transplant Unit and Critical Care Subspecialist at Groote Schuur Hospital.

“Giving consent for the donation of organs and tissue after the death of a dear loved one, is one of the most selfless acts of love and kindness we can imagine. Through donation the family’s decision affects not only multiple lives positively, but it also provides them with some comfort in the most difficult of circumstances,” says Professor Petro Terblanche from Bone SA.

All families requiring bereavement and grief support after the death of a loved one at Groote Schuur Hospital are invited to make use of the Bereavement Centre and its support staff.

More about organ donation at Groote Schuur Hospital

South Africa has one of the lowest organ and tissue donation rates in the world. Groote Schuur Hospital wants to provide grieving families with the opportunity to save multiple lives by donating their loved one’s organs and tissue.

In 2023, Groote Schuur Hospital experienced:

  • 2 631 deaths
  • 422 in-patient deaths supported by palliative care
  • 64 families were approached for consent
  • 8 deceased multi-organ donors
  • 2 tissue donors