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GIVING a thumbs-up and grinning from ear to ear, the staff at this Oxford care home are still beaming about an award they won nearly a year ago.

The team at St Luke's Hospital in Headington were honoured for their dedication and compassion at last year's Dignity in Care Awards, run by Age UK Oxfordshire.

Now, as the charity opens nominations for this year's awards, staff at the care home have said what one family's nomination has meant for them.

St Luke's, an independent care home with nursing, offers both long-term and short-term care.

Nurse Florence Udoh, who works on the ground floor supporting clients undergoing post-operative rehabilitative care, said there was nothing more satisfying than seeing the physical transformation in the people she was caring for.

She said: "It makes me so happy to see a resident who may have come in a wheelchair to then walk out of the door themselves.

"It makes me feel like I have really played a part in that achievement, so they could get to that point.

"We get 'thank you' cards and chocolates from family members."

The home was secretly nominated for last year's Dignity in Care Awards by the family of one of their residents.

Kept in the dark about the nomination until they were contacted by the charity, Ms Udoh said it was wonderful to be recognised by family members of a resident they had supported.

The sister and daughter who made the nomination described staff as 'like one big happy family.'

The family went on: "Everyone is courteous to our family and all her visitors and cannot do enough for us at this difficult time.

"Nothing is too much trouble for any of the staff and they go out of their way to be most helpful and always have a smile for everyone.

"They are so supportive in a caring environment with such impeccable high standard of care.

"We are very glad we chose St Luke’s Hospital for my sister to end her days and would highly recommend it to anyone who has found themselves in the same position as we were, knowing there was nothing else that could be done for her."

Senior auxilliary nurse Beth Hall said it was very 'rewarding' to know they have done something to help somebody.

She added: "I would hope that when it is my turn, there will be somebody looking after me.

"We really do get a lot of job satisfaction from seeing how we make a difference to our residents' lives and of course their families.

"You can't quite explain it, but there is a wonderful feeling you get from knowing you have helped someone."

Chief executive of the care home Richard Burden said his team took a great pride in striving to provide the best possible care for their residents.

He added: "We were all taken aback by the announcement.

"It is a testament to how hard our staff work in all roles across the hospital to give the best care we can, and we hope the community will have a long hard think about the services and people who have made a difference to their loved ones' care.

"They really deserve to be recognised."

Nominations are now open for this year's awards.

For more information visit ageuk.org.uk/oxfordshire/news--campaigns/dignityincare