Rowcroft Nurse speaks out about caring for COVID-19 patients

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(Last Updated On: April 16, 2020)

“I’m scared too, but we will carry on caring”- Rowcroft’s ‘Hospice at Home’ Manager

As Rowcroft Hospice teams on the frontline face unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hospice at Home Manager Karenne Weaver admits she’s frightened but is adamant that Rowcroft’s teams will not give up: they will continue to provide expert end-of-life care to vulnerable patients across South Devon.

“Staff are anxious,” acknowledges Karenne. “They worry about going to patients in their homes. And I’m scared too. We are beginning to see patients with COVID-19. This does increase our workload, but we are determined to continue to give the highest level of care and support to everybody who needs us.”

The incredible courage of Rowcroft’s staff and volunteers throughout this pandemic has been applauded by Rowcroft’s Director of Patient Care Dr Gill Horne. “They are being courageously compassionate in the care they are giving to the community at this time,” says Dr Horne.

In line with national guidance on COVID-19, Rowcroft staff and volunteers are following strict procedures to prevent the spread of the virus – including using essential personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves and aprons. Where possible, nursing teams are working remotely to provide support and advice to patients and their families.

“All our staff have the correct PPE – personal protective equipment – and they ensure that they see patients with COVID-19 towards the end of the day, so they can come back to the hospice to have a shower and change their clothes before interacting with other staff, patients or going home to their families,” explains Karenne.

Rowcroft Hospice is facing one of the greatest challenges of its 38-year life-span – with spiralling demands for end-of-life care and growing pressures on its services. The charity is struggling to generate income, as all of its shops across the region have been forced to close, and all of its fundraising events are suspended. Nevertheless, Rowcroft’s promise to South Devon’s community to continue to provide end-of-life care is unwavering: the charity is caring for high numbers of patients with life-limiting illnesses, in patients’ own homes and in Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit in Torquay.

“Our teams are out there delivering care to patients and families, just as they have always done,” says Karenne. “A lot of our staff are anxious at the moment. But we will carry on giving care and we will carry on looking after other people and ourselves and that’s most important. So please stay home and stay safe in this period of uncertainty. Thank you.”

For further information about Rowcroft’s work and how you can support us during this crisis, please call 01803 210800 or visit Rowcroft’s website at:

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