Michael Curl was admitted to Rowcroft Hospice for symptom control in April and was surprised to find a cheerful, pleasant place instead of the quiet, sombre atmosphere he expected. When a Doctor suggested he document his stay here by writing, he took to the grounds around the hospice's Inpatient Unit and noted down what he saw, felt, and even ate.
"Coming up the drive in an ambulance is not the best way to experience the Estate and grounds of probably the best occupied position of one of the major Victorian houses of Torbay. As I am put to bed my first impression is of a relaxed, efficient and caring environment, for what, in my case is to be a month or so, although I am not to know this at this time.
Day-to-day activity is, of course, purely caring for very poorly and terminally ill patients, which would normally be expected to generate a quiet, sombre atmosphere. Nothing could be further from the truth; there is a cheerful, pleasant, all-round feeling in the ward. The pace is busy but unrushed; much appreciated by this patient and I am sure many others too.
The level of care provided in my case (and I am surely not alone) is exemplary and I am very surprised to see the various departments working so well together, in order to ensure that the patient gets the best treatment.
The Doctors on each shift (of which there seem to be many) are always kept up to date through handover meetings etc. I often see a different doctor, who I've not previously met, but who is totally up to date with both my condition and treatment.
The meals provided are almost like my wife's home cooking (being careful here). Cooked in house with a varied menu, they couldn't be better. Nothing could be much worse, when you are under palliative care, than being confronted with poorly prepared, unappetising food.
As I now come towards the end of my treatment at Rowcroft I can start to appreciate the beautiful setting. I have lived and worked in this area (South Devon) for over 30 years and through my work, I have had the privilege of seeing places most people do not. Rowcroft estate is up there with the best of them. May it long provide its care, and continue for many more years, long after I am gone."