A work experience placement turned into a lifetime of dedication for senior carer Lorraine Pocock who has just celebrated 40 years with The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT).
Lorraine joins a prestigious group of just thirteen current colleagues at OSJCT with more than 40 years’ employment at Trust homes. She was inspired to work in care having spent time chatting to care home residents as a young child.
Lorraine, who lives in Pewsey, Wiltshire, has spent her whole career caring for elderly residents in OSJCT care homes. She first worked at Coombe End Court, which at that time run by the council, on a placement whilst at school. Having impressed the Matron there, she was invited to apply for a vacancy, and started work as a carer in September 1980, aged 18.
Lorraine said: “I absolutely love spending time with our residents, learning about their life experiences and doing the little things to put a smile on their face. When mentoring others, I always encourage them to spend time with residents to get to know them and find little ways to make them more relaxed and comfortable.
“After running a Dementia Unit and working as Head of Care, I know how important it is to get to know our residents and their usual behaviour, it means we can spot changes in someone quickly and react accordingly.
“Working with teams at OSJCT has been wonderful, and training at the Trust is second to none.”
Lorraine received a 40 Years Long Service Award at a celebration event held at Marden Court, Calne. She was presented with flowers by resident Maureen, received gifts and a certificate from Home Manager Amy Thorne, and was congratulated by Chief Executive Dan Hayes who joined by video call.
Dan added: “Lorraine is a fantastic colleague, a compassionate Care Leader and is always supportive of our homes. In the last 40 years she’s worked with many residents and new care team members sharing her experience and warmth with all.”
Lorraine stayed at Coombe End Court for 26 years, where she progressed to Head of Care and ran a Dementia Unit. She worked at Anzac care home in Devizes before it was replaced by the new Hayward Care Centre in 2014, when she moved to Marden Court.
In 2013 Lorraine was honoured with a Bronze Medal of Merit, awarded by the British Association of The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta (BASMOM) for her hard work and dedication to caring for residents residing within OSJCT homes.
Increased contact between carers and relatives of residents is one of the big changes which Lorraine has embraced during her career. She said: “One lady who lived with dementia told me that she saw angels in the falling snow. I shared that with her daughter, who treasured that special memory.”
Another fond memory for Lorraine, was taking residents out for a drive in her own time and inviting one resident who had no family home for Christmas. This wouldn’t happen now, due to regulations, more focus on entertainment in care homes, and liaising with relatives about visits.
In 2015 Lorraine officially retired from her role as Head of Care, but with her love for working with the elderly, she has worked every month since on a sessional basis. This means that she can spend more time with her two grandsons, and still support Marden Court.
Marden Court Home Manager, Amy Thorne, said: “Lorraine has been a huge support, stepping in when needed, whether as a Carer or Care Leader, sometimes at short notice. She has also been a wonderful confidant to me. Lorraine is an absolute pleasure to work with.”