A Clinical Manager with responsibilities for more than 1,000 residents at 21 south coast care homes has been awarded one of nursing’s top professional accolades.
Colten Care’s Lindsay Rees saw off the challenge of four fellow finalists to win the Nursing Older People category at the RCNi Nurse Awards held at the Westminster Park Plaza hotel in London.
Judges made their decision following the success of a nurse-led risk assessment strategy which Lindsay introduced to reduce the number of falls experienced by frail and older residents.
A 24-week pilot at Colten’s Salisbury nursing home Braemar Lodge led to 47% fewer falls per week, while one of its dedicated dementia homes, The Aldbury in Poole, saw a 35% drop.
Lindsay’s techniques and resources are now being rolled out to other Colten Care homes in Dorset, Hampshire and Sussex, where reductions in the numbers of falls are already being observed.
Lindsay designed the strategy to help nurses and care staff identify the risk factors for falls. The approach is deliberately positive, allowing residents to maintain freedom and mobility.
Describing the moment she was named as the winner during the awards ceremony, Lindsay said: “The most overwhelming thing is to be in the room with so many amazing nurses from across the NHS and elsewhere and then to hear your name read out. I was genuinely surprised to win. I am delighted about the positive effect on the wellbeing of individual older people living in our homes as well as the great staff engagement achieved with this project. Winning this award is so exciting because it gives me a fantastic opportunity to shout loud and proud about how tremendously positive, rewarding, satisfying and exciting it is to work with older people in nursing homes.
“My goal is to show to fellow nurses that working in care homes is a fantastic way to progress your career. If we can raise the profile of care home nurses, to make it more widely known as a sought-after setting for nurses to work in, then ultimately we will benefit the older people we care for, enable them to live their lives to the full and at the the same time support our NHS by reducing the number of avoidable hospital admissions. What the care home sector needs are more skilled clinical leaders to manage and deliver care.”
Elaine Farrer, Colten Care Operations Director, said: “Many congratulations to Lindsay on her well-deserved award. The falls strategy is a great achievement that is clearly making a difference to the lives of our residents. Across all our homes, we value the capacity to introduce new ways of working that impact positively on residents’ care.”
Now in their 32nd year, the Nurse Awards cover all aspects of nursing and mainly attract entries from across the NHS. This year, 700 entries were whittled down to 16 winners in a range of categories.
Judge Caroline Shuldham, who chairs the RCNi editorial advisory board, said: “Lindsay’s initiative succeeded not only in reducing the incidence and burden of falls in her care home residents and making the environment safer, but achieving this while maximising residents’ personal freedom and opportunities to pursue activities they enjoy. The judges were impressed by the careful and logical approach Lindsay adopted, thus ensuring staff engagement and support for the project and contributing to its success.”