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Fiona Dilorenzo shortlisted for national award

Fiona Dilorenzo Specialist Learning Disability Liaison Acute Health Care Assistant (HCA) at University Hospitals Plymouth Trust (UHPNT), Fiona Dilorenzo, has been shortlisted for a national award which celebrates the very best in nursing care.

Fiona has been shortlisted in the ‘HCA of the Year’ category in the Royal College of Nursing institute (RCNi) awards. The RCNi awards highlight outstanding work in a wide range of specialties such as learning disability nursing, child health, cancer nursing, mental health nursing and nursing of older people. These awards, which are now in their 31st year, are widely regarded as the highest accolade for nurses in the UK.

70 finalists have been shortlisted from over 700 entries. The winners will be announced on the day of the NHS’ 70th birthday, Wednesday 4 July, at a ceremony in London.

Fiona was nominated by colleagues at UHPNT based on her ability to encourage even the most anxious patients to come into the hospital and attend their appointments.

In a three month period at Derriford Hospital, there can be up to 650 outpatient appointments for people with a Learning Disability (LD) and each month there are approximately 40 – 60 ‘Did Not Attends’ (DNAs).  Fear, anxiety, difficulty communicating and reliance on public transport are just some of the barriers faced by patients with a LD.

Having taken up this position with great enthusiasm and genuine excitement for developing the role, Fiona has gone above and beyond by following up on every DNA, contacting the relevant department in the hospital and the patient to find out why they missed their appointment. In some cases, patients miss their appointment because they’re not sure which bus to catch or simply because they’re afraid. Fiona finds a way to help get these patients to the hospital and arranges a place near the main entrance to meet them so that she can support them in getting to their appointment. She then stays with the patient to help them stay calm and relaxed. Currently, this is the only role of its kind in the Devon region.

One patient, Sean McCann, has found Fiona’s support invaluable.

“Fiona is excellent,” said Sean. “If I’m here, Fiona’s here and it’s a real help to have that.

“She helps with my health assessments and I think she’s marvellous. It’s nice to have help with medical things but she helps with other things as well. She really goes the extra mile.

“When you’re on your own, trying to talk to people about certain things can be hard work. Fiona has rung people for me and she always gets back to me to let me know what’s happening.  I wish there were more people like Fiona. I think we should be very thankful. I hope she wins this award, she deserves it.”

We would like to wish Fiona the very best of luck at the awards next month.

Pictured: Fiona with patient, Sean McCann

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