Herald Express (Torbay, Brixham & South Hams Edition)

Why a simple trip to the seaside meant so much to Rowcroft patient Rita


NINETY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD Rita Quail from Teignmouth had her heartfelt wish come true recently when, with the support of Rowcroft Hospice, she was able to relive cherished memories on Teignmouth sea front.

As a patient with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and with limited communicat­ion and mobility, Mrs Quail’s dream was simple: to visit the seaside to remember happy days spent there with her late husband Albert and their three children.

With the support of Rowcroft’s caring team, Mrs Quail’s dream came true one cold, sunny day last November with the help of a wheelchair, hoist and specially adapted vehicle.

Her daughters Hazel, Megan, and Fay said: “Mum used to walk along the sea front with Albert when they were courting and during their 75 years of marriage. Although Albert sadly passed away in 2022, mum’s wish was to visit the seaside at least one more time.

“It was a lovely gesture from Rowcroft to give our mother some relief to her ongoing debilitati­ng illness, giving her a sense of tranquilli­ty and overall happiness for a brief moment, and putting a huge smile on her face! It was wonderful for mum to have a trip out as she has been housebound for years apart from an occasional visit to hospital. And to relive a moment of happiness shared with her husband in years gone by.”

Mrs Quail had run a wool and craft shop before the onset of MND – a fatal, rapidly progressin­g disease that affects more than 5,000 adults in the UK. MND targets the brain and spinal cord, attacking the nerves that control movement so muscles no longer work. Unable to walk and with two live-in carers assisting with all physical and domestic tasks, Mrs Quail can no longer speak clearly and her communicat­ion is very limited. To express her needs to her carers, she makes sounds, nods her head and spells out words using an alphabet sheet.

Rowcroft’s occupation­al therapist Izzy Warren is one member of the team who has been supporting Mrs Quail at home and who accompanie­d her to the sea front. Ms Warren said: “My role is to support patients to achieve their goals and wishes. Meeting individual care needs is important and our focus is on maximising quality of life.

“We do this not only by providing special equipment to help people in their day-to-day lives, but also by asking our patients ‘what is important to you?’It was clear the trip meant so much; she had a smile on her face from start to finish! It gave us a picture of the Rita she used to be, and it was wonderful that she had the chance to relive those happy times.

“As Rowcroft staff, we’re very much aware that our patients have a life that extends far beyond the life-limiting illness and symptoms that we see before us.”

While Rowcroft cares for 2,500 patients like Mrs Quail annually, in recent years the hospice has noticed a substantia­l increase in the number of patients with neurologic­al conditions such as MND, Parkinsons and dementia.

“Many people know we provide care to cancer patients with a terminal diagnosis but they are often unaware we deliver care to people with all kinds of complex conditions, such as MND, respirator­y and cardiologi­cal illnesses,” said Ms Warren. “All of these patients require highly specialist care, and we are extremely grateful for the community’s support in helping us to deliver this.”

Rowcroft is asking for regular donations to help it expand its specialist end-of-life care services to reach hundreds more patients with complex needs across South Devon.

» To make a donation go to rowcroftho­spice.org.uk/donate

 ?? ?? ⟫Rita Quail, aged 95, enjoyed her trip to the seaside with Rowcroft occupation­al therapist Izzy Warren
⟫Rita Quail, aged 95, enjoyed her trip to the seaside with Rowcroft occupation­al therapist Izzy Warren

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom