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Widecombe History Group Talks
Widecombe History Group had a very detailed and interesting talk about Rowcroft Hospice, Torquay by Debbi Shotton who is their County Fund Raising Officer for the Teignbridge Area.
She began by emphasising that they are there to help patients and carers and families of those patients that pass through their doors.
The Hospice caters for people in an area of 300 square miles and is the only adult Hospice in South Devon. The area means that they are here to support up to 280,000 people. Formed in May 1982 and within 3 months trustees and friends of Rowcroft were very active. By 1990's 2000 people had been helped by the organisation.
The original building belonged to the Wills family who produced cigarettes in Bristol. It was the home Ella Wills, a family member, and in 1935/6 she had built Rainbow House as a house for her housekeeper. It was elaborate and eventually cost £100,000, complete with a boating lake, boat house and even a marble staircase. She is reputed to have had a boat in the shape of a swan but when WW2 began she had the lake filled in as she felt that the reflected image may attract enemy aircraft to bomb it as it would appear massive. At that time she had a most elaborate air raid shelter built at the cost of £24,000.
Debbi then showed a film about the hospice and in her commentary she explained how there are now 17 inpatient beds and a big home visiting service all connected to the Hospice.
There is large variation of therapy available, given by staff including music, arts, massage and much more, all designed to suit each individual patient. Therapy also includes helping patients to live as normal a life as possible including trips to the shops, and outings, and very importantly these services include the whole families and friends and carers of the patients.
The costs involved with running the hospice are considerable, as much as £600 plus per patient per day. But thanks to the Hospice Shops, mainly managed by volunteers, without which it would be difficult to finance, raising £15,000 a week.
Debbi emphasised the importance of volunteers. "We could not manage without their massive support" she said.
They also run Community nursing, visiting patients at home, this helps patients live as normal a family life as possible.
They are so proud of this action and they are rightly proud of their achievements.
Patients are their priority immediately after diagnosis as they take on that mantle of care, social support to them, their friends, family and carers. As well as the best medical attention and drugs available to control pain and discomfort, by the doctors, consultants, and special nurses, there are also complimentary therapies with music, light, pain control, and full medical consultations with all involved.
Volunteers save the hospice hundreds of pounds a week. They are invaluable to the successful running of the organisation. Many meals are cooked individually for patients, and served in an individual manner. Rowcroft’s Trolley is famous for its unique service. Volunteers serve meals as well as cooking and preparing them. They take patients on shopping trips, fetch visitors who can't get to see members of their family. Rowcroft is a place of hope as well as support and over the years thanks to the spiritual support of various denominations they have witnessed two marriages and a baptism all helping patients to feel that extra bit special.
They run out patient clinics as well as inpatient ones, and also successfully involve the whole family, including children and grandchildren, giving special help to them all.
Education is important, and a special unit has been developed within the organisation to help with this. There are extensive gardens at Rainbow House for all to walk through. Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy are all part of the life of this remarkable place.
Patients that want to be at home can benefit from 'Hospice at Home' where qualified nurses can give support and care for up to 24 hours a day, they also provide bereavement support to the whole family if they need it.
They currently help 1800 patients a year at Rowcroft at an annual cost of £7.5 million a year. Any help with fund raising will be greatly appreciated. Support their shops, and events run by their volunteers or even volunteer oneself.
Such interesting facts about a truly wonderful organisation giving exceptional service.
Contact 01803 210800 for more information.
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