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Pat's Story

Pat’s journey at Thames Hospice began in 2019 when she was first referred to us for palliative support through our Living Well and Therapy Services. Three years on, Pat continues to benefit from the holistic care provided at the Hospice and recently stayed on our Inpatient Unit to help manage her pain and symptom control. Pat reflects on her incredible life and shares how our multi-disciplinary teams provide the vital support she and her family need at this time.

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

Born into a traditional Liverpudlian family, the only daughter of four children, Pat was ambitious, a little rebellious and fiercely independent from a very young age! Determined to seize every opportunity and always aspire to be the best she could be, Pat made the bold decision, aged just 16, to join the British army.

Pat recalls when she got her first post in the army: “I was over the moon. It was at Edinburgh Castle, so you can imagine this little girl from Liverpool going to Edinburgh Castle! I remember walking up the stone arcade and thinking oh my god, I’m going there to work!”

After Scotland, Pat and her first husband were posted to Germany and, together with their daughter Jamie, experienced many exciting adventures across Europe, including seeing the fall of the Berlin Wall. “I had a fantastic life and when I look back now, I think I have achieved some really good things.”

Pat’s first marriage broke down whilst in Germany, but she met and married the love of her life, Graham. Graham was offered a significant career opportunity back in the UK and Pat secured a senior position as Director of Operations at Compass Group, so the couple decided to move back home, settling in Berkshire.

Pat started to feel unwell in 2016 and it was following a CT scan and biopsy that Pat was diagnosed with a life threatening illness, but responded well to the treatment. She recollected: “I had a fantastic 18 months. I went back to work and I thought ‘I’ve done it, I’m cured!’. But then it came back again. I had more surgery and I went through further treatment, but I really struggled with it this time and I just didn’t want it anymore.”

In 2019 Pat received the devastating news that her condition was no longer treatable and she was referred to Thames Hospice for palliative support. The thought of going to a Hospice initially frightened Pat, but following a call from David, one of the Hospice’s nurses, and a tour of the facilities, she felt more reassured. David encouraged her to come along to the day therapy sessions.

Pat said: “I thought you came to a hospice to die, but attending day therapies just opened my eyes. I have made some great friends there and the team are an incredible support.

“I am treated as a person, not a patient, I can talk about anything and I don’t feel I have to put a smile on my face and pretend I’m fine.

“We have a laugh too, especially doing the crafts. I remember making a bath bomb and it exploded everywhere! I have been making things for my grandchildren in the sessions and I have also been compiling memory boxes for them and my daughter.”

At the beginning of 2022, Pat’s condition deteriorated rapidly and, following several hospital stays, Pat was admitted to the Hospice’s Inpatient Unit in May to help manage her pain and symptoms.

Pat said “It was such a relief to me to know that I could be somewhere where I felt safe and be looked after. I am utterly amazed by the dedication of the nursing team and the doctors sit down with you, talk to you and take the time to explain things to you.”

Whilst staying on the Inpatient Unit, Pat could still pop down to join in day therapies.

She said: “I absolutely love the Day Therapies Team; they are part of my family now. I thought I would die at home or in a hospital, but that has totally changed because I know the care and love that everybody here gives to the patients.”

Pat also benefits from regular complementary therapy sessions, including reflexology, to support her physical and emotional wellbeing. She is able to chat through any worries with our Pastoral Care Team as and when she needs it, and that support is there for Pat’s loved ones too.

Physiotherapy plays a key role in Pat’s quality of life, helping to improve her mobility and strength. Our physiotherapists support Pat in a variety of settings, including her room on the Inpatient Unit and in our state of-the-art Rehabilitation Centre at the Hospice, using specialist equipment. Our Occupational Therapists are also involved in Pat’s care, assessing her equipment needs both at the Hospice and home. Pat uses a frame to help her stand from a sitting position and has a wheelchair, giving her more independence and freedom to enjoy outings with her family.

Pat said: “I am happy with the little goals now, I really am. When my daughter and grandsons come down they can take me out in the wheelchair to the park and we can have an ice cream. It’s memories like that I want to make with them and my husband.”

After sharing their story with us, Pat sadly passed away in September 2022.

Make a difference

Our services are free of charge to all those in our community who need vital hospice care but this is only made possible through the charitable support and generosity of our amazing community. We need to raise £38,363 each day to fund our services 365 days a year to the people who need us most.

We’ve never needed you, our wonderful supporters, more than we need you today. Please donate what you can to help keep hospice care available for those in desperate need.

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Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019

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