A mental health nurse who designed a tailored service so people living with advanced dementia could be closer to loved ones is up for a prestigious award.
Katherine Matthews, manager of Perry Manor Care Home in Worcester, has been selected from hundreds of entries as a finalist in the Nursing Older People category of the RCN Nursing Awards 2022.
She will find out if she has won at a ceremony on October 6 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel in London.
The RCN Nurse of the Year 2022 selected from all the category winners will also be announced at the event.
Ms Matthews realised people with neurological challenges and mental health needs were being placed out of the county area which made it difficult to maintain contact with family and loved ones.
Determined to provide a local home-from-home alternative, she designed a tailored service. At the 14-person Malvern Suite, each resident from secure psychiatric services receives one-to-one care for at least a month while the team assesses their needs and works to reduce their anxiety and distressed behaviour.
As a result, they feel safe and understood, with no need for safety interventions. Since its introduction, the administration of antipsychotic medications and benzodiazepines has halved.
She said: “The home has created a bespoke service for those who otherwise would live in secure psychiatric services due to behaviours related to their dementia.
“The dedicated team commit time to understand expressed need and create care plans that enable structure and purpose to residents’ lives.
“These relationships help reduce anxiety and distressed behaviours, and have seen a dramatic reduction in the prescribing of psychotropic medication.
“The team, in partnership with the relatives, have created a home from home community where residents live safely through being understood, and relationships thrive even with the obstacles dementia brings.
“The dedicated team receive specialist training including safety intervention, however nine months on and this intervention has not been utilised.
“The service’s ethos of ‘see the person not the problem’ has created positive and lasting changes for residents who were otherwise moved away from their loved ones, and seen as problematic with nowhere to call home.
“I feel that nurses who work in the social care sector are often overlooked and sit in the shadows of those who work in health.
“I am utterly delighted to be recognised and shortlisted for such an important award.”
RCN general secretary and chief executive, Pat Cullen, said: “This shortlist showcases the very best of nursing and highlights the work we do, day in, day out, to improve the health and well-being of our patients.
“I am so proud of all of these finalists.”
RCN charity partner The Foundation of Nursing Studies’ chief executive and awards judging panel chair, Joanne Bosanquet, said: “The quality of entries again this year was so high and it was near impossible to choose our finalists from the creative and innovative work submitted.
“The shortlist showcases excellence and recognises the enormous difference that the nursing team makes to people’s lives throughout the UK.”