A young mum is in the running  for a top award after keeping spirits up and standards high at the care home where she works during the Covid crisis.

Lucy Wheeler, who works at the Crosfield House care home in Rhayader, in Powys,  will be a finalist at the prestigious Wales Care Awards, dubbed the Oscars of social care.

She has been shortlisted in the Excellence in Palliative an End of Life Care category, sponsored this year by Hallmark Care Homes,

The glittering ceremony, sponsored by healthcare products company Ontex UK, will take place at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, October 21.

The host for the evening will be the popular tenor, Wynne Evans, and for the first time  the  event will be live streamed online.

Lucy has been the Lead Clinician at Crosfield House, which is part of the Caron Group, for just over four years but is currently on maternity leave following the recent birth of her daughter Charlotte.

Delighted at the news of her nomination Lucy said: “It was a real surprise to be nominated.

“It means a lot because my job means a lot to me and it’s nice someone else has thought I do a good job too.

“I was absolutely gobsmacked. I did the interview for the care awards the day before I went on maternity leave and I thought goodness, I won’t even be able to get my name right.”

Lucy plans to return to work after Christmas

She said she does all the clinical audits, supervises all the nurses and conducts meetings with other health care professions at the 64-bed care home when they are required.

“It’s like the work of a ward sister at a hospital,” added Lucy,

Hailing from Birmingham, Lucy worked at a discharge liaison nurse on an acute ward at a hospital before moving to mid Wales.

“We were working to get people who were medically fit back into the community but working with older adults is what I’ve always wanted to do.

“You’d think it would the same work each day but it’s not, every day is different. We get to know the residents really well and their families too.

“At Crosfield House we work on the “My life, my Wishes” plan which was created by the health board. It’s a booklet with a series of questions which focuses on people’s wishes on how they manage their end-of-life choices.”

Nominating Lucy Wayne Rees, the Registered Manager at Crosfield House and who has also been nominated for an award, said: ” The position of Lead Clinician was vacant and I was impressed with her approach, the clinical knowledge and most importantly her determination for the best level of care to be delivered to our residents.

“Lucy leads the team providing them with support and guidance.  Her communication skills are brilliant and shows exceptional empathy to families if they are ever worried, she has a fantastic way to reassure and de-escalate any situations which could potentially intensify.”

He added during the Covid-19 pandemic Lucy ensured staff were doing everything possible to keep residents safe and keep the virus out of the home.

“Being a 64 bed care home with over 100 staff maintaining high levels of infection control to protect everyone has been so difficult – it impacted on staff morale having to gown up in multiple layers of personal protective equipment daily during really hot days.

“Lucy managed to maintain exemplary standards despite this and kept staff’s spirits up and, although it was such a team effort, I feel that Lucy played such a big part in this and keeping everyone safe and healthy.

“It also reflected positively in our unannounced Infection Control inspection from the Local Authority and this was very much reflective of the commitment, which Lucy put into Crosfield House.”

Mario Kreft MBE, Chair of Care Forum Wales, said the aim of the Wales Care Awards was to recognise the unstinting and remarkable dedication of unsung heroes and heroines across Wales.

He said: “The social care sector is full of wonderful people because it’s not just a job, it’s a vocation – these are people who go the extra mile for others.

“During the Covid crisis, this fantastic workforce rose magnificently to the challenge, putting their own lives on the line to do everything they possibly could to safeguard the people for whom they provide care.

“Unfortunately, it has taken a global pandemic for many other people to realise how important and how significant our social care workforce is.

“Their incredible contribution was summed up best in the powerful and emotive words of the song, Heroes of our Heart, written by the acclaimed poet Mererid Hopwood and sung by Sir Bryn Terfel, which was set to the famous tune

of Men of Harlech. The message that the diolch should last forever is one that we should never forget.

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

“All the nominees deserve to be lauded and applauded and it’s a real pleasure to honour the contribution of all the finalists.

“I congratulate all the individuals who have shown outstanding dedication and professionalism. Every one of them should be proud of their achievement.

“They are Wales’s finest.”