Christmas is such a special time for so many families, but for people with a life-limiting illness, Christmas is even more precious. Mary Glancy, Senior Healthcare Assistant at Rowcroft, gives a unique insight into how our staff and volunteers do everything possible to introduce a little sparkle to the hospice at Christmas time, to bring a bit of extra comfort for patients and families, many of whom will be facing their last Christmas together.
The heartwarming work of Rowcroft’s care teams
Rowcroft’s devoted care teams will be leaving their own families this Christmas, and working around the clock out in the community and in Rowcroft’s Inpatient Unit in Torquay, providing vital end-of-life care, support and advice to patients and their loved ones. Mary has been working at the hospice for twelve years. Though she has seen plenty of changes over the years, the expert care provided by Mary and the team she works with has essentially remained the same – with patients’ choices at the very heart of everything they do.
“We are like one big family here at Rowcroft; we care so deeply for each other and for our patients and families,” says Mary. “I love my job because I know that our compassionate care makes such a difference. Yes it’s hard work, and it can be tiring, challenging and sometimes emotionally draining, but there are also moments of joy for our families, where memories are created to treasure forever. It’s such a privilege to be a part of that.
Spreading Christmas cheer
“With the amazing support of our local community who help us in so many ways, we can bring a little Christmas sparkle to the hospice,” says Mary. “All the festive decorations really help to brighten up the hospice, and to lift everyone’s spirits, and the Christmas lunch with all the trimmings is a real treat!”
The hospice philosophy is to create a home-from-home environment where possible – using soft furnishings, comfy sofas and traditional furniture. It all goes such a long way in making the hospice spaces as relaxing, calming and comfortable as possible. There is also a beautiful spiritual room known as the ‘Sanctuary’ – a peaceful, welcoming and inclusive space that families can use for rest, reflection or prayer.
Enchanting moments at Rowcroft
Throughout the festive period, the hospice team do their best to create an enchanting Christmas atmosphere:
“The staff and volunteers usually gather on Christmas eve for carol singing,” says Mary. “It’s just magical to hear the sounds of singing drifting around the rooms of the hospice. One year, we even used a snow-machine to create a white Christmas for our patients! We set it up on the roof, so that the snow settled on the lawns. It was just magical.”
Rowcroft’s ‘Tree of Light’, situated in Rowcroft’s gardens, shines brightly through the festive season, lit brightly with hundreds of lights to ‘Light up a Life’ of loved ones lost. If you would like to make a dedication on the Tree of Light, to remember and celebrate someone special this Christmas, you can do so by visiting rowcrofthospice.org.uk/light
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