Going that extra mile for our patients

We’re so proud of Graham in our estates team. He’s one of Rowcroft’s hundreds of hidden stars, who day after day go the extra mile for our patients, making such a difference to the quality of care that we provide.

Graham is Rowcroft’s ‘maintenance technician’, and he also drives patients from place to place, transporting them between our Inpatient Unit, patients’ homes, our Outpatient Centre, hospitals, GP surgeries and train stations. Graham’s friendliness and kind-hearted spirit shines bright, and as with all our hidden stars, it is this that radiates through to the expert service given to patients and families. In this heart-warming blog, Graham tells us more about his role, illustrating how it’s often the smallest acts of kindness that mean so very much.

“I transport patients from one place to another – to make sure patients get to where they need to go – but I sometimes divert the route a little so that we can see a special place that means so much to them, such as a church where they got married, a home where they grew up, or even to Torquay Harbour to see the cruise ships. Seeing these places again brings back memories; it helps patients to forget their illness just for a moment, to escape for a little while from all things clinical and to see the places they love. We live in such a beautiful part of the country, but that’s easy to forget when you’re caught up in a clinical world of appointments and medicines. By taking patients to these lovely places, they can leave that clinical world behind for a short time and enjoy the beauty of our surroundings again.

“Recently, when taking a patient home from the Inpatient Unit, she asked if we could go via the sea, to have a look at the cruise ships in Torquay Harbour. So we drove down there, and I could see what it meant to her to see the ships after such a long time away. Her face lit up as her memories came flooding back. Patients love going to see the ships, so I’ve been there quite a few times.”

Recently, Graham also helped an elderly husband to visit his 92-year-old wife who was being cared for in our Inpatient Unit. The husband really wanted to see his wife, but it was going to be a long and arduous journey involving two trains – particularly worrying for him given the risk of contracting COVID on the train – and a long, steep walk up Rowcroft’s driveway. So instead, Graham went to pick him up from his home and dropped him off at the Inpatient Unit, where there was a freshly prepared lunch of fish and chips waiting for him on his arrival. And of course, Graham drove him back home again after his visit.

“When I’m transporting patients or family members, they often love to chat about the history of Rowcroft. In particular, they are fascinated by Ella Rowcroft and they love hearing stories about Ella. So I tell them all about Ella: how she struggled with rheumatoid arthritis and had to use a wheelchair, and how her generosity laid the foundations of the Rowcroft we know and love today.

“If I’m not transporting patients, then I spend my time doing maintenance jobs around the hospice, for example, painting and decorating, gardening, repairing equipment etc. While I’m outside doing these jobs, patients and families sometimes come over for a chat. We have a few jokes and a laugh, and they love to hear all about the history of the estate. They are intrigued to hear there was once a boating lake at Rowcroft and an underground bunker. While we chat about all this history, it takes their minds off their troubles for a short while, it gives them a little break away from the worry of illness. It’s a social thing and a bit of normality in difficult times and it just eases the situation for them a little.”

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