One of the most famous quotes by the founder of the Hospice movement, Dame Cicely Saunders, reads: “You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life. We will do all we can not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die.”

Within that quote lies the heart of hospice. And it is for this very reason that FWC Hospice in Hursthill, Johannesburg, is raising funds for a Snoezelen Room, as such a room will provide a multi-sensory environment bringing moments of joy and healing to those facing the challenges of a life-limiting illness.

The term Snoezelen is a contraction of the Dutch verbs “snuffelen” (to seek and explore) and “doezelen” (to relax). During the late 1970s two Dutch therapists; Jan Hulsegge and Ad Verheul experimented with a sensory tent at the DeHartenburg Institute. The goal was to increase enjoyment and sensory experience for those with intellectual disabilities. The result of a one-weekend fair was overwhelmingly positive for both verbal and non-verbal patients.

“We hope to be the first hospice facility in South Africa to offer this service to our patients,” says Liezl Kennedy, general manager at FWC Hospice. “Snoezelen can help to relax an agitated person or stimulate and raise alertness levels of someone who has sensory processing disorders. Our elderly patients can benefit through stimulating their senses such as smell, hearing, sight and general movements. Suddenly they don’t feel so hopeless anymore,” Liezl explains.

Nurse Manager Lucille Dawson, recalls the case of a patient who had a last wish of being on a beach, again, hearing the waves and smelling the sea breeze. “We wanted to create a scene for her where she could have this experience, using a projector showing sitting by the ocean listening to the waves, and placing her feet in tray of play sand simulating the beach. If we had the facility and the means, we could have helped her making this last wish come true.”

“This beautiful journey called life is one to be treasured and embraced. Our five senses are one of the greatest gifts we have been blessed with, how wonderful it would be for us to ignite and stimulate the patient’s senses once again,” Liezl says.

Gearing up to World Hospice & Palliative Care Day on Saturday 9 October 2021, Liezl hopes to raise the R30 000 needed for this project. You can assist through the Back-A-Buddy platform

or contact them directly: 011 837 2999 or

Miriam Ratladi was a dressmaker in her younger years. “We could see how her age was creeping up on her, though she repeatedly said that she still wants to do something with her hands. We brought in some material and an old sewing machine, and suddenly this 102-year old lady transformed from being quite listless to having a big smile on her face and a sparkle in the eye. She felt worthy!”