A dedicated young nurse who helps people at the end of their lives to die with dignity is in line for a prestigious award.
While most young nurses are attracted to the more high-profile units such as accident and emergency Joseph Maundy soon knew that he wanted to specialize in care of the elderly.
Now, at the relatively young age of 27, he works in the field of palliative and end-of-life care and has earned so much respect and admiration that he has been shortlisted for one of this year’s Wales Care Awards.
The awards are organized by Care Forum Wales to recognize outstanding work in the care sector, and Joseph, who works at the Greenhill Manor Care Home in Pentrebach, Merthyr Tydfil, was nominated in the category for palliative and end-of-life care, sponsored by Hallmark Care Homes.
The prizegiving ceremony will be held at City Hall, Cardiff, on October 19, and in addition to it being the 15th year of the awards it is the 25th anniversary of Care Forum Wales.
A native of Blackwood, Joseph grew up in Leicester, where he started work as a health care assistant before being encouraged by a friend to train as a registered nurse.
“At Leicester Royal Infirmary I worked in the A & E department but I always had a strong passion to work in care of the elderly,” he said.
After returning to South Wales he looked for a job, and after doing some research began work at Greenhill Manor, which is part of Hallmark Care Homes, in 2015.
Greenhill is one of the largest homes in South Wales, with 120 residents, some of whom have dementia. Joseph heads a six-strong team in the palliative care unit, or “community”, where the number of residents has recently been increased to 30.
He was nominated for the award by the home’s clinical care manager Karen Beech, who said he was well-respected throughout the home, not only in his own community.
“He has found his niche on his current community, which has allowed him to demonstrate his caring and loving approach with residents and family members at a difficult time in their lives,” said Karen.
“He makes the discussions about sensitive subjects easier and his understanding of the need to adapt his approach to meet each individual need is outstanding.
“People sometimes underestimate him due to his young age but one comment made sums him up : ‘He is wise beyond his years’.”
Karen said that Joseph was always available for discussion on any aspect of care and if he didn’t know something he would go away and research it.
“He is always looking for new ways of doing things and improving his practice for the benefit of everyone,” she added.
Joseph, who lives in Swansea Road, Merthyr, said that although the work could be challenging it was also rewarding, and he paid tribute to the other members of his team.
“I would not be the nurse I am but for the rest of the team,” he said.
Outside of work he is a bit of a petrolhead – “I like anything to do with cars and love watching Top Gear” – but since the beginning of August he has been otherwise occupied since his fiancé Katyann gave birth to a baby daughter.
Mario Kreft MBE, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the Wales Care Awards had gone from strength to strength.
He said: “This year’s ceremony is an even more special occasion because it marks the 15th anniversary of the awards and the 25th anniversary of Care Forum Wales, and the event is now firmly established as one of the highlights in the Welsh social care calendar.
“The aim is to recognize 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 recognize the people who do the caring you will never provide the standards that people need and never recognize 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,” he added.