Learning to fly again: Pat’s story


As one of five children, Pat decided to follow in the footsteps of her sisters and went on to study nursing and midwifery before marrying and having two children of her own.

Together, Pat and her husband would spend the majority of time working together on their dairy farm, with Pat also heading out to work at a local nursing home on the weekends for a bit of extra income.

Never one to shy away from difficulty, Pat utilised her nursing knowledge to provide care for her parents and her late husband in their final moments. Although life had been hard, Pat reveals that she enjoyed every minute of it. 

Unfortunately, after a series of unfortunate events, Pat’s health began to deteriorate rapidly. Subsequent hospital visits soon prompted Pat’s doctors and her family to start looking for a living environment that could provide her with around-the-clock care.

At this point, Pat was classed as palliative and completely bedridden. She also refused to eat or to take any of her medication. 

Sadly, the ‘can-do’ attitude that Pat was previously renowned for had completely vanished. 

Pat had given up all hope and expressed her willingness to die.

Restoring hope 

Every staff member at Kolora was committed to giving Pat the best quality of life possible. Within days, staff began to notice small improvements in Pat’s eating habits, which soon progressed into trying new foods.

“Once [Pat] started eating and getting a bit more strength, we started to look at ways that we could help her progress physically,” shared Jean. 

“She couldn’t even sit up in bed at the start, so we started with simply raising the bedhead and letting Pat get comfortable in different positions. From there, we progressed to leg exercises and pulling movements to prepare Pat for getting out of bed.”

As the days and weeks progressed, Jean continued to work closely with Pat, which has resulted in a very special bond that is clearly evident when the pair are together.

“Aged care staff are very important. I don’t know how we’d survive without them,” said Pat.

“Jean was sick for one week and the end of the world had come for me. You need that encouragement.” 

Taking flight 

Monday the 7th of July started off much like any other day for staff at Kolora, however, the sound of Pat chatting away in the dining room proved to be a symbolic sound of victory.

Much to the complete shock of staff, Pat had managed to walk from her room to the dining room by herself with the assistance of a wheelie walker and the support of her beloved friend Jean. 

“I feel as though I can live now,” revealed Pat.

“Walking is everything – even though I need the aid of a walker.”

Recently, Pat surprised her daughter with her amazing accomplishment.

Pat’s daughter revealed that the entire family is very proud of their mum, she also believes that Pat was able to achieve her goals thanks to the sense of safety and happiness that she now feels in her new home.

Undoubtedly, Jean’s unique bond with Pat is one of the key ingredients to Pat’s newfound confidence and mobility. However, Jean refuses to take the credit that she richly deserves.

“We have done a lot of work with Pat, but it’s important to remember that she did that work, too. She had the right mindset,” said Jean.

When asked what goal she thinks that Pat will conquer next, Jean was forthright in her response.

“There’s not many goals left. She’s walking on her own, she can feed herself again, she takes herself to the toilet and she can stand on the spot, which used to be a real issue,” explained Jean. 

“My only hope is that she continues to use the buzzer to call for assistance when she walks. She is definitely cheeky, and she knows that we always like to be there just in case she needs us.”

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  1. Pat is our sister and we are so proud of all she had achieved in the time she has been in Kolora and a special thanks to Jean whom we met on our last visit.
    We were very impressed by the caring staff and management there.
    Pat is testament to that
    Thank you all so much for bringing our sister back to us!
    Kind regards.
    Kathy ( Mead)

  2. Pat and I trained at Maitland Hospital 1951-1955 and she was a wonderful nurse, both practical and nursing. She was great with patients. She was strong and very determined, in fact she was a great model for me and gave me encouragement. As our Reunion has been cancelled I rang a few of the nurses and had a yarn and one said after half an hour ” Helen arn’t we lucky we can still remember the funny things that happened, and we had a laugh about that. She has been a wonderful help to her husband and sincerely hope she can return home when she is strong enough Give her my love Helen

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