Clare Horne, Lead Physiotherapist at Pilgrims Hospices will retire from the much loved local charity in April 2021 leaving a legacy of a fully trained and committed team of physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants.
Clare has dedicated her career to caring for people affected by injury, illness or disability through movement and exercise. Her 18 years with Pilgrims have been a vital part of helping patients to manage pain, and to continue to live life to the full.
Clare told us: “I trained as a physiotherapist at West Middlesex University Hospital 1979-82 straight from school. My first job was at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford as a “rotational” physiotherapist.”
Physiotherapy is so important to our patients; by empowering them with the techniques to retain good movement and continue to exercise, many can remain independent for as long as possible.
Clare’s career has taken her across the world to Hong Kong in 1984, Reykjavik in Iceland, on to Saudi Arabia, and Toronto in Canada before she returned in 1989 to the UK and the William Harvey Hospital as a Superintendent Physiotherapist working in ICU.
“I came to work for Pilgrims at the Ashford hospice in 2003, this memorable date always sticks in my mind – 03.03.03.
“Physiotherapy is so important to our patients; by empowering them with the techniques to retain good movement and continue to exercise, many can remain independent for as long as possible.
During this challenging year my team has been busy filming virtual therapy sessions for patients who we’ve been unable to meet with face to face. We now have a range of videos that are available on YouTube… We’ve all found new skills and adapted those we regularly use to provide vital care for those who need our care the most.
“Initially I was the only physiotherapist employed directly by the hospice, and only worked at the Ashford hospice at the time. At first I had a clinic room to work from but as Pilgrims recognised the importance of physio support for patients, with the charity’s encouragement I was able to establish a patient gym and a variety of equipment to suit individual needs.
“As time went on, I took on the role of lead physiotherapist and now have physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants, one of each at the three hospice sites. Now each site contains a well-equipped gym, I’m very proud of the work we’ve done to support patients to live well. I think the phrase is ‘From small acorns…’ I started at Pilgrims as the sole physio and now, look at the fantastic service we offer to the community patients, in-patients, out-patients and in Pilgrims Therapy Centres.
“During this challenging year my team has been busy filming virtual therapy sessions for patients who we’ve been unable to meet with face to face. We now have a range of videos that are available on YouTube that include seated exercise, managing breathlessness and many more. We’ve all found new skills and adapted those we regularly use to provide vital care for those who need our care the most.
“Being with patients and seeing them benefit from our service in many different ways, also their families, is rewarding, working with a great team who have the common goal of doing the best for their patients is extremely satisfying.
“Services during the pandemic have had to change dramatically, and my role has taken on many different beings, from Tea Lady, to fit mask tester, with a bit of physiotherapy thrown in, however it is so exciting that in my final week we are inviting back our first out-patient to the gym!”
Everyone at the hospices wishes Clare a very happy retirement and will miss her very much.