A dedicated young nurse who brings comfort to people as they come to the end of their lives has won a prestigious national award.
While most young nurses are attracted to the more high-profile units such as accident and emergency Joseph Maund 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 received 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 presented with a silver award in the category for palliative and end-of-life care, sponsored by Hallmark Care Homes.
The prizegiving ceremony was held at City Hall, Cardiff, with the main sponsors being Onyx Healthcare. 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, the Chair of Care Forum Wales, said: “There are only winners here tonight so it is only fitting that the finalists have 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.
“This awards ceremony is our opportunity to pay tribute and to celebrate the talent and commitment that is improving the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people throughout Wales.
“We take our hats off to them.”