Local hospital staff reach RCN Nursing Awards finals

Date published: 25 June 2021


The Northern Care Alliance NHS Group’s efforts to try and ensure nobody died alone during the COVID-19 pandemic have been recognised by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The Cygnet Team has been shortlisted in this year’s awards, in addition to Health Visitor Emma Carey, who has also been shortlisted.

The Cygnets were established during the pandemic as a bridge between carers and families who were unable to visit their loved one at the end of life.

The team is made up of nursing support workers, nurses, nursing students and volunteers.

The team is a finalist in the RCN Nursing Awards Commitment to Carers category.

Using tablets to connect the patient and their family through virtual platforms, the Cygnets provided support and company to people who were alone at the end of life when their families could not be with them, while making sure their families were able to communicate with them.

The team also introduced memory diaries to capture key moments and aspects of patients’ last days to share with their families

The RCN Nursing Awards are organised by the RCN and recognise and showcase the best of nursing and the profession’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alice Davies, Assistant Director of Nursing for Palliative, End of Life Care and Bereavement, at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said: “This is so exciting, we are so privileged to have been shortlisted in the RCN Awards as a finalist.

"The Cygnets cared for patients at end of life and their families, making the best for them at such challenging times, something which as part of the wider contributions of all health professionals, we couldn’t be more proud of.”

Emma is a Health Visitor at Rochdale Care Organisation working across the Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale community.

She is a finalist in the RCN Nursing Awards Community and General Practice category.

Many families felt their health visitor was less accessible during lockdown and evidence showed that children under the age of two suffered disproportionately high levels of harm.

With no additional funding, Emma implemented a low-cost, high-impact intervention for families during and after lockdown.

Walk and Talk offered families the chance to meet each other and a local health visitor in green spaces, access support and improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

Emma also curated a sustainable local community ‘breadline’ recipe book aimed at reducing issues associated with material deprivation and poor health.

For every book sold, another was given to a family in need.  

Vick Thorne, Divisional Director of Nursing and AHPs at Rochdale Care Organisation, said: “We are so proud of Emma and all that she has achieved to support families in the HMR community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Emma is an inspiration to us all and really embodies what we are about at Rochdale Care Organisation.

"We are all rooting for her in the finals.”


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