Care Heroes Awards: Above and Beyond Award

We’re celebrating the finalists of our Above and Beyond Award this week. This award recognises any front-line care or support worker who has gone beyond the call of duty for the well-being of service users.

Winner: Nicola Beeston – Careline Homecare, Darlington

Our care teams never know quite what to expect when arriving at a service user’s home, and sometimes it can take quick-thinking and dedication to respond to a tricky situation. For one particular care worker – Nicola Beeston – a teatime visit in July of last year proved to be a prime example.

Expecting it to be her final call before she was due to finish work, Nicola quickly found the service user’s husband was unwell and in pain. He told Nicola had not sought any medical advice as there are no friends or family locally that could help support his wife, who has dementia, if he was taken to hospital. Nicola reassured him that his wife would be well taken care of and contacted the branch to say that she was willing to stay overnight – which Nicola did until the service user’s husband was able to return home.

The service user’s husband later contacted the branch to praise Nicola for her actions. He said “Nicola must have had things she needed to do last night, her own family to get home to, but instead she stayed here to make sure that I went to hospital and got the help that I needed. I wouldn’t have gone otherwise and she knew that. It must have been scary for her to have to spend the night in a strange house but she didn’t show that, she just reassured me that my wife would be fine and I needed to concentrate on getting the help I needed. Thank you just isn’t enough, we just feel so lucky to have her.”

He continued, “Sometimes, when caring for someone with dementia, there is not a lot of fun in life. But Nicola, along with the other carers that visit, are a light in our lives. But what Nicola did that night was just outstanding and I’ll never be able to say how grateful I am.”

Congratulations to our finalists

A huge well done to our other finalists this year – Jane Gredig from Surrey SCP in Redhill and Sagecare’s double-up team of Jane Aoslin and Lisa Owens at Squires Gate.

In nominating Jane Gredig, her manger – Alison Phillips – told us that, “When the covid pandemic hit back in March we had a service user who was hugely affected.  She has advanced dementia and lives in her own flat, but she attended a day centre each day in between the care worker visits. When the day centre closed this lady lost her routine and started wandering the corridors of her accommodation each night and banging on doors.”

Social Service wanted to put the lady in a care home, but Alison and the team realised this would make her feel even more disorientated. Jane immediately stepped up and said she could not bear to see the service user suffer. She offered to move out of her home immediately and stay every night – doing so from March to August without complaint.

Jane left her own family behind and said to Alison that this was the reason why she came to the care industry, as she has a deep connection and passion for the service users. Alison commented, “I cannot thank Jane enough for her support especially throughout covid. She made the difference to so many and should be celebrated.”

When talking about Jane Aoslin and Lisa Owens, Samantha bond simply commented, “If my relatives needed care, these are the two I would wish to have in their home”. There are few recommendations higher than this.

After moving to the social care sector from careers in other industries, both Jane and Lisa have found their true calling in life. Working together as a team for the last three years, they have made an impact on all their service users lives – including some particularly challenging cases this past year.

The duo recently had taken on a package where it was discovered that communications had broken down between the service user and their wider family. Knowing the service user would not get the support they needed from relatives, Jane and Lisa did everything possible to make life more comfortable. From treating lice to helping the service user move into respite when their ceiling collapsed – nothing was too much for these two.

Samantha summed up, “Their dedication goes beyond the call of duty. The service users all request that these two are their carers when they are on duty. We are at a loss of how many selfless acts these two preform on a day to day basis.”

As you’d expect, our judges had particular difficulty choosing a winner for this category, rightly commenting that “They all deserve recognition”. Congratulations to you all, and thank you for everything you’ve done to support these vulnerable individuals – you are all very worthy finalists.

Lifetime Achievement Award update

Just in case you missed it from last week’s roundup, we’d also like to confirm that our Lifetime Achievement Award winner – Abiola Abbati – is from the London Care East London Branch. Congratulations again Abiola!

MiHomecare’s COVID-19 response wins at the LaingBuisson Awards

Congratulations to Helen Newcombe and the MiHomecare teams in Carmarthenshire and Swansea who won this year’s LaingBuisson Outstanding Response to COVID in Social Care Award. The award recognises examples of strong culture, delivering better care, excellent communication, and early responses in adapting to and overcoming challenges during the pandemic. 

Facing strong competition from across the social care sector, the judges ultimately recognised the MiHomecare teams’ drive to go beyond excellent service delivery in increasingly innovative ways.

At the very start of the pandemic, Helen developed two specialist Covid-19 response teams within her homecare workforce. Working closely with commissioners, and responding to the ongoing changes during the pandemic, the teams consistently delivered practical and measurable outcomes for their clients – despite the challenges caused by COVID-19.

Helen’s vision and ability to empower others has enriched many lives, from frontline staff to the people receiving care. Throughout the pandemic, staff morale has been high. Helen inspired her colleagues to think creatively. Helen’s ideas were shared during daily management calls and her innovations were replicated across MiHomecare.

In their application for the award, the teams acknowledged, “Covid-19 presented us with the biggest challenge we have faced in 24 years of homecare delivery. Despite this, morale and team cohesion has been exceptionally high because our staff were empowered to make a hugely positive impact on the people they care for and their colleagues.”

A huge ‘well done’ to everyone involved in the COVID-19 response at MiHomecare, your hard work and innovative approach has truly earned this award and recognition. We’re proud to have you all on-board as a valued part of the City & County family.

Birthday celebrations at home for Norman

Maria Gerardo at the Pullen Centre has sent us an uplifting story showing how the London Care team are engaging with their clients despite the centre being closed through the pandemic.

One of their clients – Norman – celebrated his birthday on Sunday, so the team paid him a birthday visit at his home. After a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday, Norman was so pleased to receive his chocolate eclairs, Cadburys chocolate bar and card.

Maria told us, “Norman hasn’t been out of the house for over a year, despite my team trying to get him to go for a walk outside or even around the building. But, he won’t leave his flat as he is so concerned about the virus. Norman has just had both of his jabs and is in very good spirits, so he’s excited to come back to our centre once we reopen again.”

Maria continued, “Norman is 82 years old and has been so strong through this whole pandemic. Despite not going out even for a walk, he is always so happy, cheerful and always pleased to see my staff.”

Happy birthday Norman, we hope you had a fantastic day.

Appreciation for our London Care teams

Magdalena Trepczynska, Regional Manager – South, has shared a series of appreciative messages from the families and contacts of service users across the South East. The continued dedication of London Care teams to clients in the area has made an inspiring difference to their lives.

Firstly, the Raynes Park branch received the following feedback shortly after one of their service users sadly recently passed away:

“Thank you so much for the beautiful floral display in memory of my Aunt.

“I fully appreciate all the care and support given to my aunt over the years. Without your kindness and dedication, it would have been difficult for her to continue to be cared for in her own home. It was her greatest wish – and indeed mine and her family’s – for my aunt to remain in her own home and spend her final days there. Thanks to you all, that was achieved.”

A few days earlier, the Rochester team were also contacted by the family of one of their service users to express their appreciation for one particular member of the team – Heidi:

“I have received a call from the nurses to say that they will be taking over dad’s care. I have requested that they remain with yourselves for as long as possible, this is due to Heidi and the wonderful relationship that she has built with Dad, she is the only one that has taken the time to get to know him and talk to him.

“When Heidi comes in, he lights up, he will always try and eat for her when everyone else fails. This lady is the very definition of caring where as others it’s just a job. The last thing I want to do is to deprive my dad of the one small bit of joy he has left.”

When another support service steps in to comment on just how effective our staff are, it’s always a huge compliment. Rhys Davies from the Complex Care Team at the Royal Borough of Greenwich had this to say about one member of the Crayford team:

“I just wanted to let you know that the carer Miriam from London Care has been very supportive of my client and has gone the extra mile. She has been always willing to adapt her hours to meet the needs of client and ourselves and communicates well with us. She has a positive relationship with him and has been great.”

Finally, Magda also asked to send a special congratulations to Sussana Ansah – who recently took over the branch manager role in Crayford branch following her successful CQC interview. Well done Sussana!

Thank you to everyone working hard to support our vulnerable clients across the UK, but particular congratulations to these teams an individuals who have made such a big impact.

Mental Health Awareness Week 10th – 16th May

Mental Health Awareness Week takes place next week, and this year’s theme is nature.

The Mental Health Foundation started the annual event 21 years ago with the aim of getting people to have conversations about mental health and the things in our daily lives that affect it.

Why nature is this year’s theme

During the pandemic, millions of us turned to nature. The Mental Health Foundation’s, research on the mental health impacts of the pandemic, showed going for walks outside was one of our top coping strategies and 45% of us reported being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health.

What you can do

Here are some ways you can connect with nature to support your mental health during Mental Health Awareness Week:

  • Experience nature: take time to recognise and grow your connection with nature during the week. Why not use the Nature Journal here to help you document how you feel about nature and your mental health. Click here for top tips on connecting with nature.
  • Share nature: Take a photo, video or sound recording and share the connections you’ve made during the week, to inspire others.

Talk about nature: discuss with your family, colleagues and community how you can help encourage people to find new ways to connect with nature in your local environment