Supporting people with complex needs

Specialist care for each unique patient

At Rowcroft we know how important it is for patients with complex needs to get the right kind of care and support, and we do this by tailoring our specialist care for each unique patient. Karen Wilson explains how we supported her inspirational sister Dena who died in 2019.

Born with Down’s syndrome and a learning disability, and in late 2014 diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (a disease that causes dementia), Dena developed incredibly complex needs. Day-to-day life started to become exceptionally challenging, not only for Dena but also for those closest to her, yet Rowcroft was able to deliver expert specialist care that was sensitive and compassionate, and that helped them all through the toughest of times at the end of Dena’s life.

An inspiration to all

“In spite of multiple health issues Dena was a multi-talented and confident young woman who charmed everyone she met,” says Karen. “She attended a local day centre twice a week for music, art and pottery, and she was regularly given the microphone to lead the singing! Her simple child-like faith and trusting, loving nature had something to teach all of us in a cynical world.

“Dena’s condition deteriorated significantly in 2018 and seizures became a big part of her life. With several emergency dashes to Torbay Hospital, she earned the nickname ‘Houdini’ as she always seemed to recover from illness at the eleventh hour.

How Rowcroft supported Dena in a time of need

“I eventually made the decision to contact Rowcroft and we soon had support from a palliative care social worker, a specialist community nurse, and a Rowcroft consultant who was like Wonder Woman! In less than a day she had set up a co-ordinated approach to Dena’s care, and got her medication altered so that Dena didn’t have any further seizures and this made her quality of life so much better. “When Dena later developed a major chest infection, sadly there was to be no Houdini act this time. Rowcroft’s Hospice at Home team offered care and support and helped to make her comfortable.”

“There are no words to describe the debt of gratitude we feel towards Rowcroft. They allowed us precious time to be just a family with a dying loved one. It meant the world to us to be able to sit with Dena knowing her needs were being met and that she could die in her own bed in her own room at home, just as she had wanted. It was a very peaceful time for everyone and if there is such a thing as a good death then this was it.”

“Rowcroft is like a family that embraces you in the darkest times. It wraps its arms around you when you need it most.”

Responding to increased need

According to the Devon Partnership NHS Trust, there are 15,400 people with dementia in Devon, and this is predicted to rise by 33% over the next 30 years. Responding to the surge in numbers, Rowcroft is asking for regular donations to help the hospice expand its care towards the long-term goal of supporting an annual total of 3,000 patients and those closest to them by 2030. You can make a donation to the hospice here.

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