Dementia Care Specialist for Barchester Healthcare, Deena Heaney, from Alvaston in Derby, has been awarded an MBE, one of the UK’s highest accolades, for services to dementia care.
MBE or Member of the Order of the British Empire is an honour that is awarded to a person by the Queen for a particular achievement. Deena will be invited to London to receive her award from a member of the royal family later this year.
Originally from Borrowash in Derby, Deena has dedicated her entire career to working in the care sector. After studying Health & Social Care at college, she began her working life as a carer at a care home in Derby and is now coming up to her 40 year anniversary in the sector. Her passion for dementia care started early on when she found there was a lack of knowledge on the subject and set out to acquire it for herself. She attended lots of courses and lectures, and was particularly inspired by a dementia expert called Victoria Metcalfe who she went on to work for and from whom she learnt a great deal and became a specialist in her own right.
Deena joined Barchester Healthcare in 2015 and has never looked back, she says Barchester is by far the best company she has ever worked for. She regularly speaks at conferences and has won multiple awards for her work in supporting staff to provide the best possible person-centred care for residents living with dementia. Her whole motivation is to make a difference and to promote positive effective communication between staff and residents, she says to provide the best care you need to understand the uniqueness of each individual. Deena lives for the lightbulb moment when she is training staff and she can see that they ‘get it’ and that training leads to an enhanced experience for residents. She is also passionate about supporting the friends and family of those people living with dementia for whom the experience can be an incredibly difficult journey.
Commenting about how she felt to receive her MBE, Deena said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed, it really has not sunk in yet. I am humbled by the wonderful response I have received from family, friends and colleagues who are all ecstatic for me and so very proud which is just lovely. I absolutely love what I do and I am lucky enough to work with amazing people who make every day a complete joy, I want to share this award with them – I couldn’t have done it without their hard work and commitment. My family and friends are so supportive of my career, I want to thank each and every one of them and I can’t wait to celebrate with them.”
Barchester Healthcare’s Managing Director for the Central Division, Lorna Rose, added: “I have worked with Deena for many years and I have always been incredibly proud of her achievements, her work in training our staff to support our residents who are living with dementia is exceptional and inspiring. I am delighted that her dedication and commitment has been recognised with this wonderful accolade. She is an absolute superstar and I could not be happier for her.”