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Nov 10, 2021

Palliative care is multidisciplinary medical care that supports those with life-threatening diseases, most commonly AIDS and cancers . This specialised care aims to optimise a patient’s quality of life, as well as support their family members, at every stage of illness.

Care begins when a life-threatening disease is diagnosed and continues regardless of whether treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy or any other treatment directed at the disease, is received or not.

Palliative care may be provided in healthcare facilities, community centres (such as hospice community centres) or at home. According to the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA), about 100 000 patients and their families receive hospice services every year, mostly in the comfort of their own homes.

It includes the prevention and management of pain and other symptoms associated with a patient’s illness, as well as supporting a patient’s psychological and spiritual needs. A patient’s family is also supported with advice on how to provide care at home and through counselling, including bereavement support if a patient passes away.

Hospice programmes and palliative care teams in certain hospitals offer the needed care. Several specially trained healthcare providers can deliver palliative care, including medical doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, dietitians, pharmacists and social workers.

According to the HPCA’s latest available annual report for 2020, 44% of patients cared for were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, 24% with chronic illnesses, 20% with cancer and 12% with tuberculosis. Females accounted for 65% of patients and males 35%, with 46 to 60 years of age accounting for the highest percentage with regard to age distribution accounting for 26% of patients.

Bestmed added the palliative and home-based care to its benefits in 2021, and in 2022 we will offer members even greater benefits in this regard. For 2022, the palliative care benefits per option are:

Beat1

Beat2

Beat3

Beat4

Limit increased to R60 000 per beneficiary per annum. Subject to available benefit, pre-authorisation and treatment plan.

Limit increased to R90 000 per beneficiary per annum. Subject to available benefit, pre-authorisation and treatment plan.

PACE1

PACE2

PACE3

PACE4

Limit increased to
R75 000 per 
beneficiary per annum. 100% Scheme tariff. Subject to available benefit,

pre-authorisation and treatment plan.

Limit increased to R120 000 per beneficiary per annum. 100% Scheme tariff. Subject to available benefit, pre-authorisation and treatment plan.

PULSE1

Limit increased to R60 000 per beneficiary per annum. Subject to available benefit, pre-authorisation and treatment plan.


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