A compassionate care worker whose devotion to people with dementia has won widespread praise has been presented with a major national award.
Danielle Stelling, who provides end of life care for people with dementia for Lougher Home Care, based in South Wales, received Silver in the Excellence In Dementia Care category at the Wales Care Awards.
Danielle was invited to attend the glittering ceremony, dubbed the Oscars of social care, at City Hall in Cardiff. The host for the evening was popular tenor and BBC Radio Wales presenter, Wynne Evans, who also famously plays the opera singer Gio Compario in the Go Compare TV adverts. First Minister Mark Drakeford and the singer Sir Bryn Terfel also attended.
The Excellence In Dementia Care Award was sponsored by All Care Ltd and College Fields Nursing Home, with Ontex Healthcare UK the event’s main sponsor.
Thirty-one year old Danielle, 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 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, 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.”