Young care worker praised at Welsh care awards for helping dying man

A young care worker was praised at the Wales Care Awards for her compassion in helping a dying man and awarded the most exceptional newcomer in Wales’ social care sector.

Teenager Cerys Williams won the gold award for Exceptional Newcomer at the 10th Wales Care Awards.

She was also awarded one of the top prizes – The Spirit of Care, which she shared with Samantha Broom, 23, from Bridgend.

The nineteen-year-old’s achievements come after only a year of working in the care sector.

Ms Williams, who works for Abbey Dale House care home in Colwyn Bay, said: “To be honest I was amazed I won, so surprised, I was clapping thinking someone else had won at first, not realising it was me!

“I’m just so happy with the result and determined to get into nursing. Mr Nadin and the staff at Abbey Dale have been so helpful to me and so supportive.”

Owner of Abbey Dale House care home, Clive Nadin said: “It was a fantastic night and we’re all so thrilled for Cerys. It was a big honour for her and for us too. We’re very chuffed. She’s done really well.”

Just three months after starting work there, Ms Williams was praised by a consultant for her “compassion and maturity” in helping a dying man.

The expert in accident and emergency medicine said the youngster should be given every encouragement to become a registered nurse.

That commendation made Ms Williams determined to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse.

She had recently started at the Abbey Dale House and had just completed a 12 hour night shift when she was aware that one of the residents was seriously ill.

“I didn’t want to leave him, he was really poorly and I said I would go to hospital with him. The ambulance came straight away and took us to Glan Clwyd Hospital at Bodelwyddan.

Consultant Dr David Cartlidge wrote: “Despite the fact she was very young and not surprisingly upset, the care worker who accompanied him acted with extreme gentleness, compassion and maturity.”

Ms Williams has just successfully completed her NVQ2 qualification and is contemplating either an access course or NVQ3 as a way to get into nurse training.

Samantha Broom, who also won the Spirit of Care award, works for Home Instead Senior Care in Cardiff, who specialise in providing quality care to older people in their own homes.

She said: “To win the Spirit of Care award as well was a little overwhelming. All my clients are very pleased for me.

“I have just been promoted to care co-ordinator, so my role is to ensure clients are happy with their care, but I also continue to provide for care for four clients.”

One of her clients is a leading academic, struck by Alzheimer’s disease, who continues to enjoy his independence thanks to Ms Broom. His family say she not only does her duty but “offers that extra ‘X’ factor which makes her stand out.”

The gold Dignity in Care award, one of the main awards of the event, was shared between Emma Price, from Pontardawe, who works at the Sudbury House home in Ynystawe, and Andrew Bain, from Riverside, in Newport, who works at the Pentwyn House Care Home in Marshfield, Cardiff.

Emma Price also won gold in the category for Supported Living or Small Group Community Living Care Practitioner, sponsored by Smartcare Training.

She said: “It was lovely to be a part of it and to have that recognition.

“It was a complete surprise and it just blew me away.”

Andrew Bain scooped a double gold after winning in the category for Residential Care Practitioner.

He said: “It was nerve-racking on the night but very enjoyable and I’m still in shock to have won two golds, it hasn’t really sunk in.”

Gwenda Thomas AM, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services and a long-time supporter of the Wales Care Awards, was given a special 10th anniversary Gold award for her “immense contribution” to social care in Wales.

Mario Kreft, chair of both the Wales Care Awards and Care Forum Wales, called the event “the highlight of the social care calendar in Wales” and said: “In this remarkable Olympic year, we recognise and celebrate the dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines of social care, who tonight received their Gold, Silver and Bronze Wales Care Awards.

“An evening like this underlines the importance of the social care sector. It is the glue that binds our communities together, both socially and economically.”

He added: “There are over 150,000 people in Wales receiving social care and the sector employs more than 80,000 staff.

“That’s equivalent to five per cent of the Welsh workforce. In the current economic climate social care is also a vital component of regenerating local communities and ensuring that carers can remain economically active.”

Other awards included gold for Ann Hughes from Rhos Residential Care Home, Anglesey, for Leadership and Management in Residential Care Services Award for Mental Health Care.

Haydn Osborne Integra Community Living Options, Cardiff was awarded gold for Leadership and Management in Supported Living or Small Group Community Living Award.

Sharon Young from HC One Healthcare, Quarry Hall Care Home in Cardiff, won gold for Promoting Fulfilled Lives Award.

Helen Randall, also from HC One Healthcare, Quarry Hall Care Home in Cardiff, won gold in the category of Outstanding Service Award.

Dafydd Lewis from Alexandra House in Denbighshire won gold for the Leading Practice in Learning Disability and Mental Health Services Award and Andrew White from Barchester Healthcare’s Llys Y Tywysog Care Home in Swansea won gold in the Catering in Care category.