Dementia care specialist awarded MBE for dedication in training staff

A dementia care specialist who has dedicated her “exceptional and inspiring” career in training staff to provide the best person-centred care for residents has been awarded an MBE for services to dementia care.

Deena Heaney from Alvaston in Derby, says she lives for that lightbulb moment when she is training staff and she can see that they ‘get it’. 

Her whole motivation is to make a difference and to promote positive effective communication between staff and residents, and says to provide the best care, you need to “understand the uniqueness of each individual.” 

Ms Heaney said: “I absolutely love what I do and I am lucky enough to work with amazing people who make every day a complete joy, I want to share this award with them – I couldn’t have done it without their hard work and commitment. 

“I am absolutely overwhelmed; it really has not sunk in yet. I am humbled by the wonderful response I have received from family, friends and colleagues who are all ecstatic for me and so very proud which is just lovely. 

“My family and friends are so supportive of my career. I want to thank each and every one of them and I can’t wait to celebrate with them.” 

Ms Heaney who has dedicated nearly 40 years to working in the care sector studied Health & Social Care at college before beginning her working life as a care worker at a care home in Derby. 

Her passion for dementia care started early on when she found there was a lack of knowledge on the subject. She attended lots of courses and lectures and was particularly inspired by a dementia expert called Victoria Metcalfe who she went on to work for. 

Ms Heaney joined Barchester Healthcare in 2015. She regularly speaks at conferences and has won multiple awards for her work in supporting staff to provide the best possible person-centred care for residents living with dementia. She is also passionate about supporting the friends and family of those people living with dementia for whom the experience can be an incredibly difficult journey. 

Barchester Healthcare’s managing director for the Central Division, Lorna Rose, said: “I have worked with Deena for many years, and I have always been incredibly proud of her achievements, her work in training our staff to support our residents who are living with dementia is exceptional and inspiring. I am delighted that her dedication and commitment has been recognised with this wonderful accolade. She is an absolute superstar, and I could not be happier for her.” 

Ms Heaney will be invited to London to receive her award from a member of the royal family later this year.