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20 May 2022

Celebration for resident in Laois community hospital for 50 years

Celebration for resident in Laois community hospital for 50 years

Ann Fitzpatrick (left in red and pink) with staff and residents in St Vincent's CNU Mountmellick, Laois

A woman who has been living in a Laois community hospital for 50 years enjoyed a special celebration to mark the date this week.

Ann Fitzpatrick has lived in St Vincent’s Community Nursing Unit in Mountmellick since 1972.

A proud Offaly woman from Cloneygowan, on Monday, February 28 the hospital arranged a little bus tour to see the home again where she grew up.

On her return to the hospital she was greeted at the entrance by cheers, live music, gifts and cards from her family and the staff, who are indeed her second family.

Ann was born on August 21 1942 and had complex care needs. As a young girl she was cared for at home by her family but due to illness, spent a lot of time in hospital. As a result of her complex care needs, she was admitted to the Mountmellick hospital aged 29, on Leap Day February 29. 

A religious order ran the unit at that time and staff say that Ann has fond memories of Sr Bridget who was in charge.

For the past 50 years St Vincent’s Community Nursing unit has been Ann’s home. 

Mary Margaret Daly is the Director of Nursing for the HSE unit.

“She has contributed so much to life here and has made many friends along the way. She has also witnessed a lot of change in her 50 years here, the longest time any resident has resided in the unit,” she said.

"At different stages, both Ann’s mother and father were residents in the unit with Ann which was no doubt difficult for her at the time,"  Ms Daly said.

Ann has many interests in the care unit to pass her time.

"She enjoys playing bingo, watching TV and she loves attending the live music sessions in St Vincent’s.  A keen participant in all activities, she won the “Rose of St Vincent’s” one year, a testimony to her sense of fun and good humour," the Director of Nursing said.

Over the years Ann went on many trips away thanks to the Laois branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association to places including Kerry, Wexford and Galway.

Her 50th anniversary celebration was organised by the staff and by Ann’s two sisters Eileen and Mary, who joined her on the day. 

Her trip out to visit her birth place in Cloneygowan triggered a lot of happy childhood memories, and the big reception when she returned brought much joy to her.

“She received lovely gifts, cards and well wishes from staff and other residents. Joe Laffan, our local musician provided entertainment for an hour which was televised to every ward, allowing all residents to join in the singalong. 

“We thought we had convinced her she is more of a Laois woman now however Lovely Laois and the Offaly rover were played just in case,” Mary Margaret said.

Ann's sisters Eileen and Mary are very grateful for the care Ann has received over the past 50 years.

"They are delighted that Ann is so happy living here and stated that she considers it her home. On reflection, Ann thoroughly enjoyed her day and is looking forward to another important celebration later in the year. That is, her 80th birthday in August."

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