Mavis Thornton has called time on her 50-year nursing career.
The Ranui Enliven Care Home manager recently retired, marking the end of an era for her and the facility.
Mrs Thornton has been at the helm of Ranui for the past 20 years.
She completed her training in Nelson, where she spent the first half of her career caring for both the young and elderly.
However, her passion was for the elderly, due to her desire to see improvements made to the way society portrayed and treated them.
‘‘I had a real passion for that, knowing how older people are treated and lack of respect as [people] age.’’
She looks back on her career with sense of pride and achievement as she recalls just how far Ranui has come.
‘‘I’ve seen a lot of changes.’’
She credits Presbyterian Support for many of Ranui’s achievements.
‘‘Presbyterian Support is an organisation that if you asked for something, they worked with us to provide it.’’
Among the aspects it had supported were training, management and an increase in staff.
When Mrs Thornton started at Ranui there were about 39 staff.
It now has 87, both fulltime and part-time.
She said there were 12 rooms to support people at hospital level care when she first started and now the home could assist up to 48 people.
In her earlier years, Ranui had the capacity to support six people in its dementia unit and now it can take 10.
‘‘The hardest part for me is when people ring wanting a room and having to say we are really sorry, right now we don’t have a room available.’’
She said the issue was not just at Ranui, but across the aged-care sector.
Providing respite care as soon as people wanted it had also been an issue.
She said there had been an expectation that respite care was always available, but unless there was room at the time, people had to wait.
Overall, Mrs Thornton is ‘‘immensely proud’’ of Ranui and its staff for supporting its residents and their families when they needed it most.
Her passion for dementia and palliative care were among the reasons she loved her job.
She said supporting people through the transition from living independently to aged care was the aspect Mrs Thornton was going to miss most about her job.
‘‘It’s what I really love doing.’’