Rowcroft Hospice on the front-line supporting its community in South Devon

thumbnail_Dr Gill Horne
(Last Updated On: April 1, 2020)

Rowcroft Hospice is facing significantly increased demand for its patient services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rowcroft’s Hospice at Home nurses are particularly under pressure as they care for unprecedented numbers of patients with life-limiting illnesses, some of whom are showing symptoms of COVID-19.

This pressure has been exacerbated by the fact that a significant number of Rowcroft nurses and healthcare staff have had to self-isolate or are having to work differently due to being in the ‘at risk’ category themselves. Staff and volunteers from across the hospice are rallying to ensure support to patients and their families can continue, and retired nurses are rejoining the organisation to help during this crisis. Gill Horne, Rowcroft’s Director of Patient Care, applauds the Rowcroft teams who are working so hard to help Rowcroft provide high-quality end-of-life care.

“The response by staff and volunteers at Rowcroft has been humbling,” explains Dr Horne. “Where possible, staff with nursing or care-worker backgrounds from different parts of our organisation are redeploying to support patient care. Our teams are showing incredible courage and resilience, providing expert care to patients living with life-limiting illnesses, including those with COVID-19. Staff and volunteers are doing everything they can to help our patients and their families to make the most of every moment, even during these challenging times.”

Throughout this national emergency, Rowcroft Hospice is helping to alleviate the burden on the NHS, by providing specialist end-of-life nursing

care, advice and emotional support to patients in their own homes and in the hospice’s Inpatient Unit in Torquay.

“For patients being cared for at the end of their lives, it is crucial that they have a choice about how and where they would like to die,” says Dr Horne. “We know that 80% of patients would prefer to die at home with their loved ones around. Through our Hospice at Home service and our community team, we are helping patients to achieve this.”

The charity is prioritising safety by taking extra precautionary measures to protect everyone from COVID-19. Infection control and social distancing is vital, as is the use of personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, aprons and sanitiser.

“We are balancing staying safe, keeping others safe, and continuing to support patients,” explains Dr Horne. “We are providing remote support and consultations to patients and their families, as well as visiting patients where needed.”

“Despite huge pressures, I’d like to reassure everyone that our care teams are doing everything possible – day and night – to continue caring for those most vulnerable,” says Dr Horne. “I am at a loss to describe the gratitude that I feel towards our care teams. We are heavily indebted to them for their invaluable service to the community at this time.”

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 www.rowcrofthospice.org.uk

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