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Award-winner Pat's sharing decades of knowledge in new role

Image shows a woman sat at a desk

It is almost 50 years since Pat Barker started her career in the NHS, but she is not showing any signs of slowing down as she shares her wisdom in a new role.

Since starting her training in 1976, just weeks before her 18th birthday, providing care to those who need it has been a constant in her life.

Image shows two men and two women standing in front of a big screen  In fact, it runs in the blood as she followed in the footsteps of her mother Pam Watson, who was also a nurse in Swansea.

Pat’s roles over the years have included staff nurse, junior sister, community nurse and district nurse.

PICTURED: Pat (second left) receives her Ultimate Living Our Values award from compere Mal Pope, health board chair Emma Woollett and Simon Hole from sponsors Principality Building Society.

Her biggest achievement to date, though, is leading a Swansea Bay service which started in 2003 to provide direct care and support to patients in the last 12 weeks of life. Its aim is to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and enable people to live at home and die in the place of their choice.

For 20 years she led the Swansea Palliative Intermediate Care (SPICE) team, overseeing its transformation and approach.

Her effort, care and commitment has since been recognised with two special health board awards.

That recognition came at the perfect time for Pat, who has since taking on a new role as she sprinkles her experience and knowledge onto another health board service.

Pat said: “Working in the SPICE team was a real privilege for the 20 years I was part of it.

Image shows a woman sat at a desk “It was a service which really developed through the years. Initially, our remit was to avoid hospital admission for patients and develop rapid access to Community Care packages.

“But that changed as research showed that people were dying in hospital, which was not their place of choice. Most people wish to die with families at their side in their own home.

“The SPICE team addressed this and developed into a rapid discharge team as well as a rapid community access to care team.

PICTURED: Pat led the SPICE team for 20 years before moving into a new role with the Home First Integrated Team.

“It was an emotional role but also very rewarding knowing you helped that person to have their last wish and return home to spend some quality time with their family and friends.”

Two decades of service to the SPICE team culminated in two awards for Pat.

She took home the Caring For Each Other and the Ultimate Living Our Values awards at a health board annual recognition event which celebrates staff who have gone above and beyond in delivering excellent care and services.

Pat said: “Winning the awards was very special for me. I had not won anything like that in my career.

“It meant a lot to me as someone took the time to think of me when they put forward a nomination. Just being nominated meant so much.

Image shows a group of people  “The Ultimate LOV Award was selected by the health board’s chair, Emma Woollett, who chose a winner among all of the staff and teams nominated for the event. It was an emotional moment for me, particularly as it’s for being recognised for living our values of caring for each other, working together and always improving – it really epitomises the attitude of the SPICE team.”

Pat is now relishing her new role as Community Discharge Nurse within another award-winning team.

Initially set up to support the rapid hospital discharge policy initiated during the pandemic, the Home First Integrated Team has since developed into a recovery and sustainability programme.

It supports frail elderly patients to continue their recovery at home or in a step-down bed or care home if they have more complex needs.

Like Pat, the service was also successful at the health board’s awards function, winning the Partnership Working category.

PICTURED: Pat with Home First Integrated Team colleagues Samantha Tancock, Nathan Truscott, Sarah Griffin, Ann-Marie Edwards, Amanda George and Karen Lander.

Pat said: “It is a very different type of role, but I’m really enjoying the patient and family contact and working back in a hospital environment.

“My responsibility now is helping families and patients to have a quality life, compared to my previous role of supporting patients who were at the end of life and wished to be around family in their own home when they were dying.

“I’ve been involved in the NHS for a long time, but for me it’s another exciting new opportunity to help more people and work as part of an enthusiastic and caring team.”

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