Nurse Jodie wins top award for supporting carers at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital

Jodie Deards has made a great impact in supporting carers, landing a national award. Picture: David

Jodie Deards has made a great impact in supporting carers, landing a national award. Picture: David Gee. - Credit: © David Gee

A nurse has won a national award for her work supporting carers while their loved ones are admitted to hospital.

Jodie Deards, who works for the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, won the Commitment to Carers category of the RCNi Nurse Awards 2017 - the profession’s top accolade for nursing excellence.

The award, sponsored by NHS England, is for nurses who have developed initiatives to support carers and have had a positive impact on the carers’ physical and mental health, as well as improving outcomes for the person being cared for.

Jodie’s initiative identifies and supports carers with a raft of measures at Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

A Carer’s Passport improves support offered during the hospital admission, ensuring all carers are registered for a needs assessment and contingency planning.

Carers also now have access to guest beds and showering facilities, drinks on wards and snack bags, and discounts at the hospital’s restaurant, shops and car park.

Jodie, who received the award at a ceremony in London’s Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel, has also designed leaflets, banners and a web page.

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She said: “To listen to the stories of our carers and patients, and know they feel more supported and valued because of the changes we have implemented, is very rewarding.

“Staff feel more confident in identifying visitors who have a caring role. They are able to signpost them to services which will enable them to feel better supported when the person they care for goes home, enabling them to continue with their caring role.”

She added: “The initiative has enabled improved communication and confidence in caring.

“When the carers learn of all the different support offered to them they feel valued.”

Nursing Standard commissioning editor, Thelma Agnew, was on the judging panel and said: “The finalists recognised the importance of carers as expert partners in care and provided focused, innovative support to protect their health and wellbeing.

“In doing so they have not only made life better for individual carers, they may have eased future demands on the health service.

“At a time when thousands of people are struggling alone with caring responsibilities, these nurses and nursing teams show what can be achieved when professionals reach out to carers.”