The hard work and dedication of the compassionate and caring team members across the Cote Charity make a difference every day to the residents of Katherine House and Griffiths House .
But this year, a spotlight shone on Westbury-on-Trym in Bristol when the deputy manager of Katherine House, Sue Thorne, won a top award.
The annual Care and Support West Awards recognise and celebrate the devotion and achievements of teams and individuals that go above and beyond to improve the quality of life for older people. Within the sector there are more than 500 care providers and over 19,000 people working within these organisations across the region.
Sue was thrilled to win the prestigious ‘Rainbow Heart’ award, which is the newest award category, designed to recognise the heartfelt and challenging work undertaken during the Covid pandemic.
The award judges noted that they had been particularly struck by the fact that Sue, in her role of deputy manager, was the glue that kept Katherine House running efficiently under incredibly challenging and difficult circumstances, keeping residents safe from Covid. Sue also made sure that families were regularly updated and she led and motivated every member of the team to deliver the highest standards of care, whilst also maintaining exceptional levels of empathy during such frightening times.
Covid did eventually make its way into the home and for several months Sue lived in 24/7 and, with the support of her team, took complete care of everything that needed to be done. Her endless compassion and care really shone through, with her positive outlook on life helping to raise everyone’s spirits when they felt low. “When all else failed, I sang,” said Sue, “I sang for the residents, I sang for the staff and I sang for me, I did anything I could to lift people’s spirits and keep them focused on getting through each day, and we did – we survived and came through Covid and I believe we have learnt a lot”.
Leanne Thorne, the care manager of Katherine House and Griffiths House who joined the team in July 2021, said, “I have never worked with anyone quite like Sue. She consistently goes out of her way to help, her positivity is infectious and anyone who is lucky enough to work with her can’t fail to feel inspired and motivated to give their best”.
In addition to Sue’s overall approach to care and stepping up during Covid, the award judges also loved many of the other initiatives that Sue had implemented and made happen, including:
- Setting up the One Wish Project where residents’ wishes are brought to life. From attending a wrestling match, to a re-lived favourite bus journey, nothing is too much trouble, “if it puts a smile on someone’s face – job done” says Sue and her wellbeing team.
- Establishing Electro Medication Administration Records (EMAR)
- Created a compliments display case for everyone to see in reception
- Introduced wellbeing days for the residents and staff – including pizza, coffee and cake days
- Moving training for staff onto e learning platforms to support their ongoing development during Covid and beyond
- The introduction of three new roles to offer more support in key areas:
- Wellbeing/mental health advocate – to support staff/residents and relatives with their overall wellbeing following the impact of Covid
- Communication lead to support positive approaches for residents with communication and behaviour barriers
- Relatives liaison advocate at Griffiths House
Sue also recently updated the values and vision for the charity: “Kindness and compassion is at the heart of our home. Our residents do not live in our workplace, we work in their home”.
This sentiment helped to seal her win in the eyes of the judges and, as a result, Sue is now going forward to the regional Care and Support finals in Birmingham in November and no doubt on to the national awards in due course.