A passionate nurse who struck gold at a prestigious awards ceremony said the accolade is a reflection of the first class team she plays a proud part of.
Lynn Hamilton Shaw, general manager at Awel y Mor Care Home in Gorseinon, Swansea, which offers care and rehabilitation for patients with complex needs, was recognised for “going the extra mile.”
But she admitted she’s only as good as her team – many of whom have been in the sector for 20 to 30 years collectively making a “huge difference” to the lives of residents.
Lynn was hailed at the 2022 Wales Care Awards in Cardiff which were hosted by tenor and radio presenter Wynne Evans, better known as Gio Compario from the Go Compare TV ads.
They are run in association with Care Forum Wales, a not-for-profit organisation set up in 1993 to give independent care providers a single professional voice with which to speak on one of the most important issues of our time – how to provide better quality care for those who need it most.
The mum-of-three, who lives in Sketty and has worked for the home, run by Barchester Healthcare since 2013 won gold in the Independent Sector Nurse of the Year Award.
The joyous moment was live streamed from the ceremony, which was sponsored by Ontex UK and meant everyone at the home could share in her success.
Lynn, 58, who has been in the nursing sector for 40 years said: “There were 10 of us in attendance on the night and the rest watching the live stream.
“We were all absolutely thrilled and so happy to be able to share the moment.
“This is not an award for me, it’s an award for the team.
“It’s so great to be recognised, especially after the difficult years we’ve had with Covid.
“We’re all on cloud nine.”
The staff at Awel y Mor provide specialised care for people with significant head or brain injuries, Motor Neurone disease, cerebral palsy and other neurological illnesses.
Their recent successes include the physio team’s work with a patient left impaired by a ruptured aneurysm and how they instilled the drive and motivation she needed to progress by helping her learn to stand rather than relying on a hoist.
Another patient deemed in a “persistent vegetative state” and unsuitable for neuro rehabilitation by a previous hospital was found to have subtle behaviours that indicated they had some awareness.
Thanks to the hard work of nursing staff, she went from no communication to fully communicating verbally and began an oral diet after being declared nil by mouth.
With a better quality of life, she is now able to feed herself and can also engage with her family.
Another patient who was immobile went from being fully dependent on staff for washing and dressing to being able to pick out his own clothes resulting in improvements to his mood, wellbeing and interaction with his family.
On a recent Care Inspectorate Wales inspection, staff and residents spoke very highly of Lynn’s leadership and drive at the home and the difference that she makes.
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 the 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 and 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.”