A care home heroine is celebrating the latest in a string of awards for her efforts to help keep a residential home coronavirus free.

Arlene Elano, deputy manager of Pendine Park’s Bodlondeb care home in Wrexham, was presented with a coveted silver accolade at the Wales Care Awards 2022 in Cardiff City Hall.

She said her triumph was a tribute to the entire team at Bodlondeb.

Arlene has previously been honoured by the Philippines ambassador to Britain, and appeared in an international television documentary about the devastating impact of COVID on the care sector.

Her knowledge, skills, practice of infection control and enhanced methods needed during the pandemic were also recognised by Pendine who presented her with the company’s top Semmelweis Award in 2021 as an exemplar of hygiene efficiency.

The mum of three Arlene started her nursing career in her Philippines homeland but moved to Wales and has worked at Pendine Park for 20 years.

She was hailed as a guardian angel during the height of the pandemic when she introduced and helped maintain the toughest of measures to keep COVID-19 out of Bodlondeb.

Manager Ann Chapman said Arlene was a COVID warrior who went above and beyond to protect vulnerable residents, and her fellow staff.

Organised by care industry champions Care Forum Wales, and sponsored by Ontex UK, the annual Wales Care Awards celebrate exceptional work. They are dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of social care.

The presentation ceremony was live streamed online, and the host for the evening was popular tenor, Wynne Evans, aka Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV advertisements.

Arlene said just being nominated for the award was a beacon of hope and a tribute to the team at Bodlondeb, recognising their commitment, loyalty and driving force to follow best practice in stop Covid from coming into the home.

Arlene’s leadership was so inspirational it featured in an award winning two hour documentary highlighting the remarkable achievements of Filipino frontliners in Europe during the pandemic. Later she was invited to a screening of the film in London where she was presented with a certificate by Juan EU Konek which produced Kontra Corona – the documentary film about Filipino care staff in Europe and their families during the peak of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reflecting on her silver award Arlene said: “Over the years I’ve learned that to reach a goal you may have to take many routes but if your focus is steadfast and you have the backing and support of a loving family and a nurturing team then anything is achievable.”

Mario Kreft, chairman of Care Forum Wales, said the ceremony was all the more poignant because of the Covid pandemic and what front line staff had endured.

He said: “I would like to pay a heartfelt tribute to all the wonderful people who work in social care after they rose magnificently and courageously to meet the unprecedented challenges they have faced over the past couple of years.

“We have always recognised their true value and hopefully now the rest of Wales is also aware of how lucky we are as a nation to  have them providing care and safeguarding our most vulnerable people.

“Our finalists are the best of the best and are here representing the whole social care workforce who all deserve a big pat on the back.

“There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze Wales Care Award.

“I trust that they will continue to inspire those around them as role models and encourage others to aspire to even greater heights in the months and years to come.

“In the words of the powerful song, Heroes of our Heart, written by the acclaimed poet Mererid Hopwood and sung by Sir Bryn Terfel, let the Diolch last forever.

“We take our hats off to them.”