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Mar 13, 2024

Great Leader award winner Suzanne McPadden goes the extra mile for staff and residents at Osborne Care Community

As we share the stories of our 2024 Champions of Care winners, we’re recognising the achievements of Great Leader winner Suzanne McPadden 

Person Centred Software’s Champions of Care awards provide an opportunity to celebrate and recognise the achievements of our everyday heroes, often working behind the scenes in the social care sector - the champions of change who dedicate their lives to caring for the most vulnerable members of society. 

This time, we’re sharing the story of Suzanne McPadden, winner of the Great Leader award, here is her story. 

As Development Manager for Osborne House and Worcester Lodge, Suzanne has been described as the “driving force behind the digital revolution” for the community of dementia care homes in Clevedon.  

With experience in the business world, Suzanne worked with different industries to analyse and improve areas of operations, acting as a troubleshooter, and resolving problems to ensure a higher level of profit. Suzanne enjoyed a large amount of success in this area and then, when she changed roles to work in the social care sector for a care home group, Suzanne realised not only that things needed to change, but also realised a passion for the care industry. 

“The more care homes I went into, the more need there was for supporting staff, and to make them feel like their staff are amazing. What they do on a day-to-day basis still gets nowhere near the level of respect it should.” 

From there, Suzanne embraced her passion and trained in dementia care, psychology, and learned as much as she could, acting as a force for change in the industry.  

Now, working in the operations team at Osborne House and Worcester Lodge, Suzanne spearheads the development of new practices and systems and always makes sure that the people who are using them are supported. Suzanne has proven herself to be a transformative leader who is always pushing as much as possible for the development and improvement of dementia care.  

But apart from embracing all the transformative changes that technology has to offer for the care industry, Suzanne has maintained a natural passion for providing outstanding person-centred dementia care that focuses on the human touch.  

“My passion is that everyone who works in a care home is trained properly in dementia care,” she commented. “To understand the residents, to walk their life with them, we have to step into their worlds. 

“I shout on social media all the time about the need to allow them to live and to not place unnecessary restrictions on their lives, even down to making the toast in the morning.”  

For Suzanne, fostering a sense of community is one of the most important aspects of care. She spearheads the charity work, the fundraising and the monthly events that in the past have included bake offs, wine tasting, chocolate pairing, and coffee mornings among others. Not only this, but the care home has recently signed up to do the catering in the local church which, on Thursdays, opens up to the local community, which Suzanne believes is a powerful way of trying to show dementia as being a normal part of people’s lives.  

When asked which event she thought had the biggest impact, she said, “The support nights have been really successful based on our feedback. I think it’s been the most successful because since Covid, people have struggled, and so they’re coming out more and they can talk.” 

Clearly for Suzanne, the human touch lies at the heart of both person-centred care and community engagement. And that idea of community extends not just to the local community, but the community of the home – the community of residents and staff alike. She has been instrumental in helping other members of staff by making new employees feel welcome, especially those who are joining the care staff from overseas.  

She has gone out of her way to provide support for them to help them fit in with the new team and acclimatise to their new surroundings, whether it’s helping them find accommodation, set up bank accounts, and even helping to find furniture. For Suzanne, it has also been incredibly important, when helping staff settle into new communities, to gain a greater understand of different cultures, to learn from one another, to embrace cultural differences, and to understand their unique challenges. 

“Locally, we were probably one of the first to start having overseas workers in the care homes,” she said. “We started off with four people and to begin with they didn’t have a house, so they ended up living with me. We gave them some rooms at our house and we supported them, but it was actually a good way for us to find out what they really needed, and a great way to support them with their transition and helping them with the difficulty of leaving their children behind, which was really hard. 

“Then helping them get set up with things like housing, GPs, dentists, and schools ready for when the little ones come over, also with the support they need so that they can still come to work while the children are at home with someone else. 

“We come up against some barriers, but we resolve them.”  

It’s clear to see that the impact and change happening under Suzanne’s leadership boils down to the passion to care for those most vulnerable and to foster a true sense of community inside and outside the homes.  

“I get asked [why she loves doing what she does] all the time because I’m qualified in other areas, for example in finance, and could be earning a lot more money and doing different things, but the passion I have to make a difference to residents with dementia is vital.” 

When wrapping up, we asked if Suzanne had any advice to people who were thinking about getting into a career in care. Needless to say, her message was one of positivity, perseverance, and recognition. 

“I would say keeping going,” she said. “There’s a lot of amazing people leaving the industry, especially since Covid, so it’s important to keep shouting about what’s right. We are humans, we’re all going to get old and some of us will get dementia, and we’ve got to change things. 

“And just remember that you’re the most amazing person in care. Anyone that does that walk of life needs to be recognised.” 

Her message was also one of thanks for the support she has received from all the amazing staff that work alongside her at Osborne Care Community, concluding: “I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but without an amazing team we can’t win any awards, and everyone that works for us is just incredible. Especially Josh Slator [Osborne’s CEO], because without his input financially, always putting money back in, we couldn’t do it. 

“Although it’s hard work, it’s fantastic, and a team is what really makes it.” 


March 13, 2024

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