Nurse Awards

A determination to make care better for people with dementia

A nurse’s impressive body of work to improve dementia care in Northern Ireland won him a place on the RCNi Nurse Awards shortlist.

Gary Mitchell.  Picture credit: Harrison PhotographyGary Mitchell. Picture credit: Harrison Photography

Gary Mitchell, resident experience care specialist at Four Seasons Health Care, is a finalist in the Nursing Older People category, sponsored by Hallmark Care Homes.

Gary is delighted to be a finalist. He says: ‘I am honoured to be nominated. This would not be possible without an inspiring team of specialists supporting me, as well as the people living with dementia and their families who I worked with throughout and who I believe are the only experts in dementia care.’

Gary led sessions with 400 first-year nursing students at Queen’s University Belfast by arranging ‘dementia friends’ workshops.

The feedback was so positive the package has now been included in the undergraduate nursing curriculum. By 2017, all nurses who graduate from QUB will be dementia Friends.

Gary was commissioned to be the lead author of the Northern Ireland Dementia Learning and Development Framework by Dementia Together NI.

He met 150 stakeholders – patients, carers, healthcare professionals – over the course of six months and gathered feedback on what people needed to know about dementia care. He then compiled a thematic analysis of findings and assisted with writing the recommendations in a report to be published in June 2016.

Gary Mitchell.  Picture credit: Harrison PhotographyGary Mitchell. Picture credit: Harrison Photography

In his clinical role, Gary is responsible for enhancing dementia care through the implementation and evaluation of nursing practice across 70 units in Northern Ireland.

And he is very proud of the impact an innovative palliative care framework he helped develop has had on patient care and experience. As a result of it, there are more discussions about end of life care through family conferences and advance care planning than there were 12 months previously. Gary is building on this body of work through engagement with key external stakeholders. Evaluation, while promising, continues.

Lisa Berry, editor of specialist journal Nursing Older People, was a judge on the shortlisting panel. She says: ‘The RCNi Nurse Awards 2016 are a wonderful way to recognise those who innovate in their practice to make a difference to patient care.

‘The standard of entries received for the nursing older people category was exceptionally high. All the finalists showcase the best of nursing practice in this specialty and demonstrate the impact they are having on people’s lives.’

About the sponsor

Hallmark Care Homes

Hallmark Care HomesHallmark Care Homes is one of the leading providers of high quality, relationship-centred care, with 15 beautifully furnished care homes across England and Wales. They are dedicated to providing quality environments and high standards of care, which enable residents to live life to the full. Hallmark Care Homes employ outstanding nurses that play a vital part in their care delivery. They provide exceptional career pathways for nurses from graduation through to senior managers, which include clinical and leadership programmes. If you’re thinking of a career move, give Hallmark Care Homes a call on 01277 314191 or visit hallmarkcarehomes.co.uk