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Hospital ward’s accolade for ‘tireless’ pandemic efforts
Bodmin Community Hospital’s Garner Ward was presented with a High Sheriff Unsung Hero award by Cornwall high sheriff Kate Holborow

Bodmin Community Hospital’s Garner Ward was presented with a High Sheriff Unsung Hero award by Cornwall high sheriff Kate Holborow

31st March 2021

By Ollie Young

A specialist ward at Bodmin Community Hospital has received a High Sheriff Unsung Hero award.

The Garner Ward is Cornwall’s specialist dementia ward, offering assessment and treatment of organic mental health problems with dementia.

In a moving awards ceremony on Monday, in the chapel at Treliske Hospital in Truro, the team from the ward had its work during the pandemic recognised by the high sheriff of Cornwall, Kate Holborow.

Ward manager Kate Williams accepted the award and said: “I’m very privileged to work with a fantastic and dedicated team.

“Times like this bring out the best and worst in people, and it brought out the best in Garner staff. I’d also like to thank all the relatives who entrusted their loved ones into our care, we will carry on doing our best to look after them.”

Dementia and other memory problems can cause distress, anxiety and agitation in those who suffer with the disease.

The ward works to understand what triggers this behaviour and what can be done to help alleviate it.

The nomination came from Vicky Brown, a consultant in old age psychiatry who listed a number of reasons why the Garner Ward deserved it. In her nomination, she noted: “The team members worked tirelessly, cleaning was continuous.

“Staff members used their own phones to allow loved ones to say goodbye to the dying and played favourite music to people and held their hands. At one point, eight or nine staff were off due to illness or self isolation due to contact with other people. Nearly half the team as a whole were off.

“The community teams stepped up to support Garner, with people coming in to do shifts. The only regular nurse left worked 84 hours in a week.

“The whole ward was reorganised to separate those infected from those who did not have it.”
For her part, high sheriff Kate Holborow praised the ability of the NHS to adapt to the challenges that had been thrown its way in the last year.

She added: “It is such a privilege to be here to recognise just some of the phenomenal work of the NHS in Cornwall over the last year. ‘Pivoting’ has been a much-used word over the past year, and the NHS is certainly the most impressive pivoter of all, adapting and flexing as the pandemic progressed.

“I was always aiming to recognise those doing brilliant work behind the scenes, and with the pandemic this aim became even more relevant.”

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