Cedars Care Home Palliative Care Awards 2024 Winners WEB

Here at Cedars we’re delighted to be making space for a new award in our reception area – the extremely handsome Support for Family Carers Award – which we won at the Palliative and End-of-Life Awards this weekend!

Sponsored by Care Talk Magazine, this is the care sector’s newest awards scheme and celebrates the best of palliative and end-of-life care in residential, home care and hospice settings. The glitzy final took place at London’s luxurious Marriott Hotel, compered by broadcaster Kate Garraway.

The Support for Family Carers Award recognises exceptional support provided to residents and their families at an emotional time, within ‘a comfortable and welcoming environment’. The Cedars team and Debbie Day, the home’s end-of-life lead (and national winner of the Great British Care Awards’ palliative care trophy in 2019), did exactly that, according to the judges. They described Cedars as “A wonderful team that should take pride in their work”, adding “The organisation’s culture emphasises care and meticulous attention to detail. They not only support the residents and their families but also care for each other”.

“Winning the Support for Family Carers Award was a truly wonderful moment, and a testament to the team’s compassion, dedication and determination to give our residents the death they want and deserve. It’s also amazing – and humbling – to be recognised for how we support the families at an incredibly difficult and emotional time,” says Victor Zingoni, our home manager.

The home was also a finalist in the Palliative Residential Care Provider category, with Debbie Day in the running for The Lifetime Achievement to Excellence in Palliative Care Award.

Debbie says: “To be finalists in no fewer than three categories, among such an amazing array of top palliative care, is incredible but it’s such an achievement for the home to win the Support for Family Carers Award.”

Cedars’ view is that death should be seen as another important part of life’s journey, just as birth is. “We believe in giving someone the death they want and then it’s all about getting those arrangements in place in good time, not at the last minute. The person’s wishes should always be respected,” says Debbie.

She is proactive in initiating such discussions when a new resident arrives at the home. If someone is living with dementia, she speaks with residents’ families and involves the local palliative care team.

“Once we know what someone wants, it’s about getting the right care in place at the right time and working with the GP and palliative care team.”

Debbie is also a qualified Soul Midwife, a non-medical companion who helps a dying person towards and through a calm and gentle death.

“It’s a special moment,” she says, “and unique to each person. We help a dying person to recreate a favourite time or person in their mind during their last moments. One resident who loved trains visualised that he was catching a train with a someone he loved. Basically, people want to do it their way, and we help facilitate that.”

This valuable work contributed towards Cedars’ re-accreditation in 2021 as part of the National Gold Standards Framework, which sets out the required standard of care for people nearing the end of their life. The home achieved a near perfect score, earning a platinum award, and is currently awaiting the result of a recent assessment.

It’s testament to Cedars’ expertise that earlier this year it was invited to participate in Care Talk Magazine’s forum on the future of palliative and end-of-life care. Debbie Day and Cedars’ deputy manager, Anna Holdstock, joined 13 other industry-leading panellists, including Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England and Deborah Sturdy, Chief Nurse for Social Care. All were selected by the magazine’s editor, Lisa Carr, because of their specialist knowledge.

The panel discussed many important issues surrounding death, including how to facilitate a person-centred approach to dying, while Anna and Debbie shared the home’s practice.

“We already approach dying in a way that many other care providers do not, and sharing our best practice among the other attendees highlighted that we are good leaders in this area,” says Anna.