40 Faces of hospice care | Mandy Fryer, Health and Rehabilitation Support Worker at St Barnabas

9th October 2023

A lady, Mandy Fryer, who is a member of staff at the St Barnabas Hospice Inpatient Unit in Lincoln, photographed in black and white, against a black backdrop

Mandy has cared for thousands of people at St Barnabas over the years. And she’s nowhere near ready to stop yet – despite being by the side of patients and families for almost 40 years.

Mandy was just 15 years old when she called Long Leys Nursing Home offering her help. Wanting something to do and with an interest in care, she ended up spending her Sundays making cups of tea for the elderly residents. Soon after, St Barnabas took over the middle floor of the three-storey nursing home. It was our first home and Mandy was ready with the tea for our first patients.

Fast-forward 40 years and Mandy is still an important part of the Hospice family. Even at 16 when she left the nursing home for college to train in care, Mandy couldn’t stay away. When the time came for her second placement, she asked to return to St Barnabas. It wasn’t on the college’s radar at the time but a quick chat with the matron, Miss Storey, and Mandy spent her next two placements at the Hospice. Miss Storey obviously spotted Mandy’s talent because once she finished her training, she became a fully-fledged member of the team.

Without a doubt, caring is Mandy’s vocation. When a daughter desperately wanted her terminally ill dad to be part of her wedding day, Mandy was part of the team that made it happen. That day was emotional for everyone. Motor neurone disease meant the gentleman couldn’t communicate very well, but as Mandy sat on the side of his bed putting on his tie, she knew what he was trying to tell her. Through his tears, he was overwhelmed with pride and gratitude. His tears soon turned into a smile as Mandy got him ready for the big day.

Mandy has spent many a Christmas day on the Inpatient Unit too, giving up time with her own family to be with her IPU family, as she calls them. One memory that stays with her is going into a bay on Christmas day to be greeted by four male patients laid across their beds with Christmas hats on snoring away. It was a Christmas day scene that could’ve been any front room in the country!

And that’s what Mandy helps make possible for our patients through her care and kindness – moments that patients will never forget and memories for families to keep.

In her own words… “I adore my job – there’s no other job like it. The Hospice is like my second family, it’s seen me through my 18th and 21st birthdays, engagement, marriage, children, and now grandchildren! I can’t see me ever leaving.”

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