A social worker in Hammersmith who helps people rebuild their lives after brain injuries has been honoured with a national award.
Jen Staude, who works for H&F Council, was named Adult Social Worker of the Year at an awards ceremony on 30 November.
Jen helps people with brain injuries readjust to life and get the support they need after they leave Charing Cross Hospital in Hammersmith. Following the initial trauma, the lasting effects can take away people’s livelihoods, independence and even the roof over their heads.
“We’re fortunate and proud to have Jen in our borough,” said Cllr Ben Coleman, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care.
“She’s an inspiring example of someone quietly working to help others and change people’s lives for the better without asking for any recognition.”
Jen, who has been a qualified social worker for eight years, said she nearly fell off her chair when she got the honour.
“They were saying all these lovely things and I thought ‘that person sounds like a good social worker’ and then they said it was me. My partner said it was the only time he’d seen me speechless.”
Doing a tough job which transforms people’s lives
Jen has been the dedicated social worker for Charing Cross’s neuro rehabilitation unit for the past two-and-a-half years, working alongside physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, clinical psychologists, rehab assistants and other medical staff.
She helps patients cope with a range of challenges, such as mental or physical impairments, the trauma of having been a victim of assault (including domestic violence), losing their home or job after not being able to work, or needing ongoing counselling following the trauma.
She also assesses and supports people who no longer have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
The job can be tough – and a shortage of government funding doesn’t help. But to Jen it’s a calling.
“It’s all about supporting people back into society and find new ways of being, of coping with impairments they’ve never had before and never imagined they’d ever have,” she said.
“I feel really fortunate that I’m able-bodied, that I have the skills and maybe the right character to help, so I feel like it’s my responsibility.”
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