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Recognising our shining stars - staff awards

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Colleagues on wards 44 and 52 at Darlington Memorial Hospital (DMH) got more than they bargained for during team meetings on Wednesday, 13 April, when chief executive, Sue Jacques and Chairman, Professor Paul Keane, knocked on the door!  Ward 44 staff were the first to be surprised by the news that the teams on these two wards are joint winners of a staff award for Making a Difference!

In a new, more personal approach to announcing and presenting the crystal awards, ward 52's surprise came shortly afterwards.  Ward managers Peter Duffy and Norman Devlin, who were in on the surprise, were both delighted for their hard working teams (and that they no longer had to keep the secret).

ward 52

Sue Jacques explained to both teams that Matron Barbara Russell nominated them jointly for the award due to the hard work they put in to gaining the Quality Mark for Elder-friendly Hospital Wards from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  Barbara, said, "This achievement identifies a continuous focus on the care provided to people over the age of 65 and demonstrates the commitment made by the hospital, the wards and colleagues to identify and carry out improvements, and to achieve a consistent quality of care for older people."

"Both ward teams have worked incredibly hard to adapt the ward and working practices to provide a safer care environment for elderly patients, whilst improving quality through evaluation and changing practice.  Of course, this success also reflects collaboration between wards and the many other teams involved in patient care."

When asked what they felt made their approach to caring for elderly patients such a success, both teams unanimously put this down to working well as a team, trusting and supporting each other during even the most stressful and busy shifts and of course, putting patients at the centre of everything.

One of the innovations now routinely used on wards is Orientation Boards, introduced to elderly care areas across DMH and University Hospital of North Durham in the autumn, which support and enhance the experience of dementia patients while in hospital.  The boards are located in patient side rooms and display a range of information including the date, month, season as well as photographs of local landmarks both past and present.  Dementia nurse specialist, Janet Mortimer, worked with ward staff to develop and introduce the boards.  Janet explains, "The boards are designed to be interactive so patients can choose and change the photographs displayed."

Our chief executive and Chairman will be presenting other Staff Awards in surprise visits planned for the coming days and weeks.

'I feel it is important to relay my experience back to let the staff know they are doing a brilliant job! I would like them to know I appreciated all they did for myself, my family and our beautiful baby girl.'

Patient, Labour Ward, Darlington Memorial Hospital