Sal Keita, a cook here at St Catherine’s Hospice, swapped cooking for celebrating earlier this week when he won the Ancillary Worker Award at the West Sussex Partners in Care Accolades.
Sal took the trophy at an awards ceremony at Arundel Wetland Centre on Tuesday (10 October) in recognition of his outstanding work supporting patients and relatives at St Catherine’s Hospice in Malthouse Road, Crawley.
Sal, who has worked at the local hospice for two years, spends time on the wards talking to patients to get to know their individual dietary needs, preferences and favourite meals. When people are approaching the end of life, their eating habits can change or the symptoms of their illness can affect their ability to eat, so it’s really important that they can choose the food they most enjoy.
Whenever possible Sal will also make sure people receive a special meal during their stay at the hospice, like the time when a patient told him they’d seen a ‘lovely looking’ meal in a food magazine they’d been reading. Without letting on, that evening, Sal cooked the meal as a surprise supper. Another time a patient told Sal that their family was bringing in a takeaway for them all to enjoy together so Sal set up a table and warm plates ready for them in the patient’s room.
No request is ever too big or small for Sal. Whenever there’s a special occasion, like a birthday, anniversary or wedding, Sal will help arrange celebration decorations and make a cake to help people create treasured memories during a difficult time.
Wayne Stepney, Retail Development and Front of House Services Manager at St Catherine’s said: “We’re thrilled that Sal has won such a prestigious award recognising his brilliant work and allowing us to share the detailed care that St Catherine’s offers to local people. Sal and his colleagues are unsung heroes of our hospice. They work tirelessly to make sure that people staying with us are able to enjoy high quality food during their time here. Sometimes, when people arrive at the hospice they’ve stopped eating but thanks to the efforts of Sal and the St Catherine’s catering team people are often able to enjoy food, adapted to their individual needs, once again.”