Katherine Matthews, who manages Care UK’s Perry Manor care home, has been shortlisted for the hotly contested national Mental Health Nurse of the Year award, for her work creating person-centred care for people living with dementia.
The home, provides a range of specialist care and was recently rated as Outstanding by CQC inspectors. BNJ judges said Katherine’s shortlisting recognises the quality and innovative nature of the work she is doing at the home.
Katherine said: “I was delighted to hear I had been shortlisted, but I see this as an acknowledgement of the whole team’s work. Every day they strive to enable people, including those living with dementia, to have happy and fulfilled lives.
“They work to support people to communicate what they want to do and what they want to express. They also support residents’ families to understand the condition that has changed the lives of their loved ones. Most importantly they never forget the golden rule: we have the privilege of working in our residents’ home.”
Katherine started her nursing career as a mental health nurse, working with children and young people with severe eating disorders. Her specialist experience has enabled her to put nutrition front-and-centre for residents at risk of losing weight.
She said: “I am very fortunate to be able to use my knowledge to support our residents. As we age we lose our appetites: this can have an effect on our nutritional intake and, as a consequence, our health and wellbeing.
“People with dementia can also be very active, which burns off additional calories. Working with our kitchen team we have created snack stations around the home with tasty, safe snacks in bright bowls for those living with dementia and who are very active throughout the day and evening.”
She has had fortified milkshakes and hot chocolate added to the home’s list of refreshments, to ensure those with reduced appetites are getting the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive. She has also worked with the chefs and lifestyle coordinators to create flexible and enjoyable menus, while monthly meetings help to track the weights and appetites of all residents. As a result, there has been an increase in appetite, weight and wellbeing across the home.
Katherine said: “I am very proud to have been shortlisted, but I am even more proud of my team and their extraordinary commitment to our residents and the home.”
The winner of the BNJ’s Mental Health Nurse of the Year will be announced at an event at the Globe Theatre, in London, on Friday 8 March.