Royal Hospital Chelsea Matron, Susan Williams joins expert panel of judges at the 3rd Sector Care Awards 2017
The 3rd Sector Care Awards were launched in 2014 to celebrate and showcase the innovation and care excellence of the not-for-profit care and support sector. On Wednesday 1st November, the Matron of the Royal Hospital Chelsea – Susan Williams – along with two Chelsea Pensioners, will be joining industry experts from bodies such as BUPA, the NHS and NAPA to judge this year’s finalists. Split into numerous award categories such as Compassion, Innovative Quality Outcomes and Community Engagement, finalists come from a variety of care backgrounds including those supporting those living with Alzheimers, Royal Air Force veterans and substance abusers.
Susan has been qualified for 37 years and has spent the last 20 years in elderly care and has managed two services. She is passionate about elderly and end of life care, and explains below the Royal Hospital’s involvement in the 3rd Sector Care Awards, and what it means to be part of a panel of social care experts.
Q. Why were you asked to be a judge and what will your responsibilities be?
“We were asked to join the 3rd care sector awards judging panel a few years ago and this will be the second panel I’ve sat on. We were approached by a contact of mine at the 3rd care sector awards who has always been very impressed by the work of the Royal Hospital. Each year they send us 16 or so candidates, which I then filter down to the final few. I’m taking two Chelsea Pensioners along with me to help judge this year’s nominees and the winners will be announced at a grand ceremony on 6th December. Each Pensioner has done a lot of research into every candidate and the work they’ve been doing in advance of the panel interviews. It’s completely unique that we bring Pensioners into the judging panel – I can’t think of any other care home that involves their residents in this way. I think the reason for this lies in the iconic status of the Chelsea Pensioner and because our care home is different in the sense that we have a large number of very able pensioners in our community.”
Q. Which qualities are you looking for in this year’s candidates?
“We’re looking for innovation. One of the winner’s last year was a care home looking after someone with learning disabilities, who wanted to live out their final years in their specialist care home. The policy of the council however was that if you fell ill, you had to go in to nurse and care. This care home not only ensured that they looked after their resident appropriately with the support of district nurses, but they made the council re-think their policy, ensuring that this wouldn’t happen again. That’s the kind of stories we’re looking for – of people who have gone the extra mile to ensure that the individuals in their care are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”
Q. What does being a judge mean to you?
“Being a judge provides a very interesting and useful benchmarking opportunity for us. Sometimes the nominees we see are doing really fantastic work that inspires us to improve our own services, or the innovative techniques other organisations are showcasing are in fact techniques that we consider very normal and have been incorporating for some time, so that serves to reinforce the high quality of our care.
It’s important to see what’s out there and which approaches are being lauded. It’s also lovely to feel respected in the industry and to know that our opinions are valued. From the Pensioners perspective, I think it’s good for them to see that we are on the cusp of innovation (or try to be at all times!) – it gives them a sense of pride and it’s reassuring for them to know that if they fall ill, they’re in good hands at the Royal Hospital.”
The Royal Hospital Chelsea is celebrating National Care Home Open Day 2018 on Friday 20th April, by opening the doors to its dedicated care facility – the Margaret Thatcher Infirmary (MTI).
Chelsea Pensioners, David and Tom Lyall describe their close sibling relationship