A compassionate and attentive care worker whose devotion to people with dementia has won widespread praise has been shortlisted for a top award.

Danielle Stelling, provides end of life care for people with dementia for Lougher Home Care, based in South Wales, will be among the shortlisted finalists at the Wales Care Awards, dubbed the Oscars of social care.

The 31-year old from Newport has other family members working in the care industry and believes that has helped her in her career.

“I have family working in care for disabled too, so I understand the importance of watching body language and feeling the vibes when communicating with people,” said Danielle, who has been working for Lougher Care for just over seven years.

“My grandad was deaf and we as a family had to find ways to deal with that, so that was useful experience I picked up for the work. It’s just so important to read the signals,” she added.

Her ability to focus on the individual has made her popular with both her colleagues and the people she cares for, says her manager Martine Metcalf, who nominated her for the Excellence In Dementia Care Award.

She’s now looking forward to attending the  glittering ceremony at City Hall in Cardiff on Friday, October 21.

The host for the evening will be the popular tenor and BBC Radio Wales presenter, Wynne Evans, who also famously plays the opera singer Gio Compario in the Go Compare TV adverts. The Excellence In Dementia Care Award is being sponsored by All Care and College Fields Nursing Home, with Ontex Healthcare UK at the event’s main sponsor.

“She knows the people so well. She makes a real effort to have meaningful conversations to understand their life history’, said Martine.

“Her approach is faultless. It means that she can read people well. She knows instinctively if something isn’t right, through a slight facial expression.”

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.

All the finalists will receive a gold, silver or bronze award, so nobody goes away empty-handed

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.”

Danielle admitted to being very excited for the event and grateful to have been considered for an award. But her manager Martine said the recognition was well deserved.

“Danielle goes above and beyond to not only attend to the individual directly, she  supports their immediate family too. For example, she will make sure that families have enough groceries so they are able to spend valuable time with their loved one during already difficult times,” said Martine.

“She has such a warm, sensitive personality which means her care delivery is naturally kind and considerate.”

Mario Kreft added: “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 for ever 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 contributionof 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.”