A Hartlepool nurse has been honoured for the work she does helping people in their final days.
Sandra Blades has been handed a Bupa UK Clinical Excellence award for compassionate care.
The mum-of-four, who works at Brierton Lodge Care Home, specialises in palliative care.
Sandra, of Hart Lane, was a detective for Cleveland Police for 15 years before she transferred into nursing.
The 55-year-old said: “I really feel privileged to have a second career as a nurse, I never expected to enjoy it as much as I do, and I never expected to enjoy elderly care. It is such an honour to work at Brierton Lodge.
“I’m passionate about palliative and end-of-life care, I think it’s really important to ensure that everybody has a good death.
“There are many definitions of a good death and I’ve done a lot of research. Basically it’s ensuring that your resident has got the death that they want, they’re in the place that they want to be, they’re looked after by people that they’re comfortable with, they’re not in any pain, they’ve addressed any issues that they may feel still need addressing in their lives, and we support their family members through the difficult time.”
Last year, Sandra was awarded a Florence Nightingale Travel Scholarship.
She travelled to Australia for a month to see the way end-of-life care is handled over there.
She published a report and made recommendations at a governmental level and received support from Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, who took some of her recommendations to the NHS.
Sandra added: “I was really well supported by Bupa Care Services. One of the criteria of the travel scholarship is that you need to write up a report that’s published, so my recommendations coming back to the UK were staff training, planning care from admission through to end of life, and good GP and multi-disciplinary teams supporting the care home.
“I dealt with end-of-life care in a different way as a police officer and it feels wonderful to receive this award for the work that I’ve done.”