21 Aug

A lifetime of helping Toowoomba’s elderly

For close to five decades, Patricia Hedge has devoted her life to caring for residents at Anglicare Southern Queensland’s Symes Thorpe Residential Aged Care home in Toowoomba.

It’s a passion that stemmed from a very young age when she helped look after her parents at her Oakey property and would often be around the elderly, assisting them with everyday tasks.

“I was always interested in working in aged care from an early age. Even as a kid I used to be doing things for elderly people and it sort of developed through the years,” Mrs Hedge said.

Patricia will celebrate 46 years of being a Personal Care Worker at Symes Thorpe on Sunday 8 October.

“It was always the care of the elderly which drew me to work at Anglicare.

“I have seen lots of changes over my time with Anglicare. Including additional wings and services added to our Symes Thorpe home to ensure we provide the highest quality of care to our residents.

“When I first commenced with Anglicare, I was living in the nursing quarters for about 12 months until I obtained my car and license. Now the nurses’ quarters have been transformed into the staff room.”

Looking back over the years, Patricia said there have been many changes that have taken place within the industry.

“Coming in as a young, new carer in my day, we did everything. We didn’t have hoists, manual handling techniques, standards, and other guidelines to create that safe working environment,” she said.

“The paperwork wasn’t the same. There were no lifestyle, or diversional therapists and nowhere near as many nurses. We would be responsible for the holistic care of each person both in the aged care home and out in the community we supported.

“My shift was very different to what I work these days. I lived onsite and my morning began helping our residents with their daily care, we would help with breakfast and then ready the meals to be delivered out in the community.

“For some of these clients we would be the only person they would see, so our knock on the door was a welcome visit. We delivered meals, did shopping, had conversations, attended to some housework, posted letters and made sure the pets were secure.”

Symes Thorpe Facility Manager Antonia Hynes said Patricia has a strong work ethic and is well respected among her colleagues.

“Trish has performed a number of roles throughout the years and continues to show compassion and care to all the residents here,” Mrs Hynes said.

Patricia highly encouraged those considering a career in aged care, to just bring their “kind and caring nature.”

“I would tell them to bring their caring nature and love. There are many people we come across in our lives who we can help have the best day by sharing our attention and willingness to care,” she said.

Interested in a career in aged care, Anglicare Southern Queensland has a number of roles available now.