Christmas is usually a time of festive jubilations, sharing gifts, laughter and lots of hearty nourishment with the ones you love.
But for patients receiving treatment and their families and friends, Christmas can be an emotional period, made even more poignant by the thought that it could be their last one together.
Rowcroft's staff try to make the festive period as enjoyable as possible and have several activities taking place on the ward, probably more than most people would expect.
For example, the Roselands Primary School are going to be singing in the hospice's chapel, there will be a performance from the Chudleigh Handbell Ringers, staff carol singing and on Christmas Eve, carols by candlelight around the Inpatient Unit.
Balancing festive cheer whilst remaining sensitive to patients care is incredibly important to Inpatient Unit Sister, Louise Grant.
"These Christmas activities make the atmosphere a little happier for the patients, their families and friends (and the staff too)."
During the festive period, Rowcroft ensures as many patients as possible can enjoy Christmas at home. Sister Polly Pooler has spent many Christmas' at Rowcroft.
"On Christmas Day, if patients are well enough they will often go home. Even if they haven't been fully discharged it's nice for them to spend a few hours away from the hospice and in the comfort of their own home.
"If a patient is too unwell to leave, then we will always attempt to accommodate family members, inviting them to stay overnight (space allowing)."
For family members who are likely to be on the ward during the holiday, Polly explains that Rowcroft will provide Christmas dinners.
"Before Christmas Day we will ask the families whether they would like Christmas dinner. We can't cook for families of twenty but we endeavour to accommodate everyone and make the experience as 'normal' as possible."
On Christmas day the house-keeping staff will setup tables so families can all sit together and enjoy their Christmas dinner.
"If a patient isn't well enough to leave their bed, then we will arrange for the family to sit at bedside and that way, everyone can still have their food together."
Rowcroft delivers care throughout the holiday season but despite working, Louise describes it as a relaxed and festive environment for the staff.
"On Christmas Eve a selection of nibbles and snacks are laid-out, so we can relax whilst on our breaks with a bite to eat and a nice cup of tea, which is lovely."
Over the Christmas period, full-time members of staff will each have two-days-off and those days are determined by a Christmas rota. Louise explained that this is rotated each year to ensure shifts are shared fairly.
"The reality is that people working in healthcare have to work during the festive season, and Christmas Day is just like any other working day. Well, maybe it's a little different, but we all work our normal shifts."
Rowcroft Hospice delivers palliative care free-of-charge to the residents of South Devon. For those patients who choose to spend their last days at home, the Rowcroft Hospice at Home staff will continue to provide care, 24 hours a day, 365-days a year. Please help us this Christmas by making a regular or one-off donation.
Merry Christmas from everyone at Rowcroft Hospice.