For those who’ll be spending Christmas at Rowans Hospice this year, our wonderful staff and volunteers work tirelessly to make sure it’s a very special day for all the family, where lasting happy memories are made.
Our volunteers, nurses, housekeeping assistants, spiritual care chaplain and support workers are all here Christmas Day.
1. Staff and volunteers sing carols on the Ward
Every year, in the days leading up to Christmas, our staff and volunteers come together and sing Christmas carols on our in-patient Ward. From Silent Night to Jingle Bells, their harmonies fill the corridors with festive spirit.
2. Presents are exchanged
All our patients are given wrapped presents by the nurses to open on Christmas morning, and many families bring in presents for each other and the nurses too. Families are welcome to come in at any time to decorate a patient’s room and exchange presents among each other. We make sure the family can spend Christmas Day together, as if they were at home.
Senior Staff Nurse Linda Page says: “I love being here at Christmas and giving our patients the chance to interact with their families, doing what they’d normally be doing. I want them to forget, just for a short time, where they are and why they are here. But to be honest, it’s just another normal day because we work to make every day special. There’s just a bit more tinsel at Christmas!”
3. Christmas Dinner is served
For those patients who wish to enjoy a nice bit of turkey with the trimmings, our kitchen staff don’t skimp on serving up a proper Christmas dinner. And there are crackers and party hats too, just none of the washing up afterwards… for our patients anyway!
Catering Manager Angie Roberts says: “Over the last 18 years, I’ve lost track of how many Christmasses I’ve been here for, and still the patients always come first.
“For those who would like it, we love cooking ‘a proper roast’ for patients and their families to enjoy, and it’s all prepared and cooked on the day. Although it can be a very sad day for many, if a family can all enjoy a meal together then it’s quite special really. And you’re always giving that extra bit of TLC in everything you do. For those who may not feel like a roast dinner, we make sure they have what they want too, even if it’s just an ice lolly or a cup of tea. Nothing is too much trouble”.
4. We look after families as much as patients
For those families who wish to spend the day together with the patient, our staff work tirelessly to make it happen. We set up tables that enable everyone to sit round together for Christmas lunch. The children are entertained with hidden chocolates and candy canes in the Christmas displays, and they also receive a present that has been donated by our generous supporters especially for the big day.
House Manager Tanya Wears says that during Christmas “I dedicate my day to making sure everything’s in place to help families enjoy Christmas Day how they wish. We do our best to make it happy and above all, feel like Christmas Day should – full of cheer, peace and goodwill. But it’s not in your face – for those who wish to have a quieter Christmas, or not acknowledge it at all, we look after everyone and make sure the day is as they wish”.
5. Our staff and volunteers don’t stop
We are here and fully staffed every day throughout the holidays, from the volunteers in reception to greet visitors and patients with a smile, to housekeeping staff who keep our Hospice spotless, to the nursing staff who work night and day to ensure our patients have everything they could wish for. We’re here for you throughout the Christmas period, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Carol Gully continues: “many staff and volunteers give up their Christmas Day to help out here. I am always here, going round the ward and saying hello to everyone. It feels just as busy as any other day what with people coming and going, and I feel it’s where I’m supposed to be on Christmas morning”.