Being there for our patients

Reverend Gerda shares her thoughts on spiritual care at Rowcroft

During her time spent on volunteer placement in Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit supporting people of all faiths and none as part of our holistic and spiritual care, Reverend Gerda learned a few crucial things about how to be there with people at one of the most difficult times of their lives, as she explains in this insightful blog.

Gerda’s placement with the hospice

“I work with the Church of England as a parish priest in Torbay, and in this role I meet people at every stage of life, including the end. That’s why I thought it would be really useful to spend some time on placement with Rowcroft Hospice and learn more about how I can best support people at what is often a very difficult part of their lives. I did this as a volunteer working with Katie Evans, the hospice’s Spiritual Care Specialist, in Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit.”

Time and presence

“I learnt how important it is to sit at someone’s bedside and listen to them as they expressed their sadness and fear but also their joys, hopes and dreams. I learnt to be there, not just for but with people.”

Connecting with patients

“What did I have to do, apart from ask the patient whether they wanted my company for a while? Simply deliver good spiritual care: be open, interested and curious to meet the other person, listening to what they find important and hold dear and what makes them tick. See and treat them not as a patient but as a person.

“I didn’t find it difficult to talk to people of a different faith or belief than my own: in the parish I am a listening ear to everybody who needs me and so it’s something I’m quite used to. It was a real privilege to be invited into all these people’s lives, even if only for a short while.”

Making a difference

“The key thing that stuck with me is how much it means for people to know that you are there for them: even if they don’t want to talk, the thought that you are available should they need you makes a big difference to them, and that’s why I really enjoyed being available to patients, families and staff alike during my time with Rowcroft.”

Volunteer with us

If you are interested in helping to provide spiritual care to our patients and families, Rowcroft would love to hear from you. Please register your interest by emailing us at or telephone us on 01803 210852.

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