Caring Lizzie in line for top national award

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A creative care home worker from Barry who works tirelessly to provide personalised activities for residents with dementia has been shortlisted for a prestigious care award.

For the past 12 months, 35-year-old care assistant Lizzie Lewis has worked as a care assistant with College Fields Nursing Home in the town,

Her passion for the welfare of the resident, quickly led to her role being extended and Lizzie becoming the ‘Wellbeing Champion’ at the home where one day a week her time is devoted to one-on-one sessions with the residents.

And, thanks to the difference she has made to the lives of College Fields residents, Lizzie has now been shortlisted as a finalist in the prestigious 2019 Wales Care Awards.

She has been nominated in the Award category for Excellence in Dementia Care sponsored by Excellence in Dementia Care Award, sponsored by All Care South Wales & College Fields Nursing Home and will attend the glittering ceremony at the City Hall in Cardiff on October 18. The awards ceremony aims to reward outstanding work in the social care sector and will be hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.

Lizzie, who has worked in the care sector for the past seven years and moved to Barry from Ipswich two years ago to be near her family, said the award nomination had come as a complete surprise.

“I have only been at College Fields for just over a year, so I am really proud to have been nominated,” she said.

“It is such a privilege to be able to do this job and I will literally do anything for our residents. Just because you’re in a care home, your life doesn’t just stop, it can still be meaningful and there are ways around it, you just need support.”

As College Fields’ Wellbeing Champion, Lizzie said her role was to find out what individual residents like to do or would like to try – and then try and make it happen.  Her recent successes have included arranging for a dementia resident to go swimming with his wife and daughter and fulfilling the dream of another resident, who is in her 60s, to visit Cardiff’s science discovery centre, Techniquest.

The challenge of making a resident’s wish come true, said Lizzie, is what makes her role as a care worker and a wellbeing champion extra special.

“Everyone is different, no two people are the same, and it is so important to talk to the residents and their families and find out what they’re really like and what they loved to do,” she explained.

“With people with dementia you can still reach them no matter how progressed they are, and you can get a smile out of them – whether that’s from listening to their favourite music, a simple hand massage or a trip out to do something different in a new environment.”

Lizzie was put forward for the award by College Field’s manager, Helen Randall who said the dedicated care worker had a real ability to give each resident a sense of purpose and a reason to smile.

“Lizzie views each resident as the individual they really are and explores different ways of creating the kindest care for that person,” Helen explained.  “This has led to some wonderful experiences and positive outcomes for many of our residents.

“Lizzie has such a warm and friendly personality and although she has only been here for a short period of time, she has made a lasting impression on the residents, their families and College Field’s staff.”

Looking forward to the Wales Care Award ceremony on the 18 October, Lizzie now hopes that it will inspire even more people to consider the career she loves.

“If a career in care work is something you are considering and you feel you can make a difference, I say go for it. It is not always easy, but it is the most enjoyable and rewarding job in the world,” she added.

Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.

He said: “The event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.

“The aim is to recognise the unstinting and often remarkable dedication of our unsung heroes and heroines across Wales. The care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job it’s a vocation – these are the people who really do have the X Factor.

“If you don’t recognise the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognise the value of the people who need the care in society.

“We need to do all we can to raise the profile of the care sector workforce – they deserve to be lauded and applauded. It is a pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists. Each and every one of them should be very proud of their achievement.”