Our Care Professional of the Year is… Paula!

Lorraine Kelly was delighted to reveal the winner of Home Instead’s Care Professional of the Year award, recognising Paula McCarthy for making old age a positive time for her clients, including singing together, going through old memories, and bringing some much-needed sparkle to their lives.

Our annual ‘Care Professional of the Year’ recognises the caring superstars across our network of 245 franchise offices; those that have gone to great lengths to keep clients safe and well at home. The three finalists for this year’s award were treated to an afternoon tea at The Shard, in London, attended by Lorraine, as a thank you for their tireless hard work.

It was no easy task creating a shortlist from our compassionate Care Professionals, but our three finalists – Paula McCarthy, Mick King and Lesley Hunter – particularly stood out.

Paula from Home Instead Chingford won for many reasons, not least due to the exceptionally close bond she formed with one of her clients. Even before she became her client, Paula would observe this lady when out and about, and would wonder how she could help her manage her frailty, even writing a poem about her. A stroke of serendipity meant that Paula eventually became this lady’s Care Professional, making it possible for her stay at home and not move into residential care, which is what the client originally thought she needed to do. Aware that this lady doesn’t have any immediate family or visitors, Paula extended her availability to seven days a week when the pandemic hit, giving much-needed company at what could have been a lonely time for her.

Mick King from Home Instead Cleveland, whose empathy for clients shines through in his role, was another of our finalists. Having experienced serious illness himself, he has supported clients with cancer and particularly helped those who have made the decision to stop treatment. Not only do his clients view him as family, they admire his fundraising efforts, including charity events he has run for Home Instead and external charity organisations.

Another finalist was Lesley Hunter from Home Instead South East Northumberland, who has always been a source of comfort for clients. She has brought a lot of joy to the community too, including when she placed pebbles she’d painted outside the front doors in an over-55s apartment block. It was during the height of the pandemic, and this act of kindness went a long way for the residents who appreciated the heart-warming gesture at a worrying time.

Paula says: “Being a Care Professional is such a rewarding job because you’re giving back to people; mainly to people who live on their own, and some don’t have any family. I take so much pleasure in helping others, so to hear that I have made a difference fills me with so much pride. I’m delighted to win this award and I’m excited to hear about future winners who treat the job with so much commitment and compassion.”

Martin Jones, CEO of Home Instead UK, says: “I'd like to congratulate our three Care Professional of the Year finalists. Paula is a deserving winner, having done so much for people in her community, truly going above and beyond. This is also a chance for me to express my gratitude to each of our Care Professionals; it gives me great pleasure and pride to watch you change our clients’ lives for the better."