Downham Market unsung hero saluted

Senior support worker Allison Edwards with her dementia award and one of the items she has made for residents at Downham Grange care home.

Senior support worker Allison Edwards with her dementia award and one of the items she has made for residents at Downham Grange care home.

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An unsung healthcare hero who handmakes items to help dementia patients has been recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony.

Allison Edwards, a senior support worker at Downham Grange care home, was named joint Ultimate Wings Champion for Demenia Care at the inaugural Kingsley Care Awards last week.

Around 150 staff from Suffolk-based Kingsley Healthcare attended the event in Lowestoft, with the 12 category winners being announced by Hilary Jones – the TV doctor on Good Morning Britain.

Mrs Edwards, who works in Downham Grange’s dementia unit, impressed the panel of judges with her work to develop the residents’ sensory care.

They particularly liked therapeutic items she has researched and made for them by hand, such as cushions with different textures, buttons and ribbons to promote the benefits of touch therapy.

She has also worked with care home manager Annabel Banister to develop the home’s other sensory experiences, such as a room with light therapy, and relaxing music.

A fish tank has also been found to have a calming influence on residents with more complex needs.

Mrs Banister said: “Allison was joint winner with the woman who actually helped to develop Kingsley’s dementia programme, so she did very well. We’re all very proud.”

Announcing the winners, Dr Jones said care home workers were the “unsung heroes” of the NHS.

“They do so much dedicated work with so much of a warm heart and they get little recognition for it,” he said.

“They keep the health service going.”