Staff and residents of Avalon Nursing Home in Bridgwater were keen to use the occasion of her 60th birthday to let nurse Paula Wagemans know just how much they appreciate her, with a special tribute and merry celebrations to mark the day.

Paula, who is one of the clinical lead nurses at Avalon, has worked at the home since 2016.

Paula said: “I never expected to find myself working in dementia care, but I was motivated to make the move because my Mum had dementia and our family had a really disappointing time trying to find her the care she deserved.

“It made me realise how badly the sector needs people who are genuinely passionate about ensuring that people in Mum’s position can have the right care.

“I’d spent the previous 25 years as a sister on the neo-natal unit at Musgrove Hospital so working at Avalon was quite a contrast, but I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every day since I’ve been here.

“I love the residents, their families and my colleagues, no two days are the same, and it’s so satisfying to work somewhere you know your input really makes a difference to people’s lives.”

Tamsin Forde, Avalon’s manager, told guests at the afternoon celebrations: “Paula is like the mum of our home. She’s a real social butterfly and gets involved with everything.

“On her 60th birthday we wanted to show her how much we love and value her.”

According to Tamsin, Paula gets involved with every aspect of life at Avalon, which means that alongside her clinical expertise, she has a deep understanding of what makes their residents tick and how to help them live their best lives.

Paula Wagemans is also Avalon’s end-of-life champion and is responsible for advance care planning and family involvement.

Tamsin Forde said: “Having her at hand to guide them gives loved ones the confidence to face the inevitable in the best possible way. We’ve had so much positive feedback about her contributions.”

Paula Wagemans is part of Avalon’s Gold Standards Framework (GSF) team, having had her GSF training at Dorchester Hospice. GSF is a comprehensive, evidence-based quality improvement programme which provides expert training for frontline staff in health and social care to enable a ‘gold standard’ of care for people nearing end-of-life. For more details see:

Avalon is one of four specialist dementia care homes run by Camelot Care in Somerset and Devon.