Affording others the dignity of independent living is a key driver for Lorraine Corr – a former part-time carer turned Director at Northern Ireland care in the community giant Connected Health.

Lorraine’s hands-on experience in front line care provision influences every part of the fast-growing independent, private domiciliary care organisation which now operates in NI, ROI and England.

Having progressed through each role in the business since 2011, Lorraine has just been appointed Connected Health’s Director of Care for Northern Ireland. For her, “it’s much less a job than a vocation” to ensure that the organisation’s 500 plus employees continue to deliver the highest standards of service to clients across five social care trusts.

The Twinbrook native, who lives in Lisburn, is now being tipped for a prestigious UK-wide award recognising her inspired leadership in the sector.

And although her nomination for the Leaders in Care Awards ‘Executive of the Year’ 2019, is a “great honour” for the Belfast mother and grandmother – the real reward for Lorraine is being in a position “to improve quality of life for clients”.

“I’ve worked my way through every job role in the business and that experience has provided me with a vital understanding of everything we do from the front line to the back office,” she says.

“I take great pride in how far Connected Health has come – from just over 50 staff in 2012 to more than 550 today in Northern Ireland alone. I take even greater pride in the innovations we have brought to home care and in the relationships I’ve formed with both staff and clients along the way.”

Lorraine has been no stranger to the many ups and downs experienced by front line carers. Those experiences define her leadership.

“My clients were like family and helping them live life on their terms was really rewarding for me.

“Of course, carers regularly face very challenging situations – especially dealing with the loss of a client who has died. There are times when staff call to find clients have passed on and other times when they intervene to save lives. These are the tasks faced by front line carers regularly.

“A recent incident involved a client found to be unresponsive by one of our carers who quickly called 999. The hospital told us that the Connected Health employee’s fast actions saved the woman’s life, as she had suffered an aneurysm. Carers regularly have to perform CPR or assist clients who have had accidents – it is a mentally and physically challenging job. The important roles played by carers should not go unrecognised in society, they are real heroes in their own communities.

“I try to never lose sight of the challenges faced on the front line because I’ve been there and worn the tee-shirt. Each night I pray to be a good leader – to be remain open, honest, firm, fair and friendly in all dealings with my Connected Health family,” she adds.

Lorraine has been central to managing an impressive 28% client growth in Connected Health over the last year. She has also delivered ‘Hospital-to-Home’ projects which have freed up hundreds of hospital beds across two trusts.

Connected Health CEO Douglas Adams says Lorraine’s extensive experience of care provision and her commitment to delivering a wholly patient-centred service have been central to the growth of the business.

He says: “Lorraine has played a pivotal role in the Connected Health story and we are privileged to have her on the team. We’re delighted that she has been publicly recognised for her inspired leadership and deservedly so.

“Lorraine’s first-hand knowledge of care provision on the front line has proven invaluable in her management successes for Connected Health in Northern Ireland.

“Upon taking up her previous role in 2016, Lorraine introduced a new management structure in the organisation. The bespoke structure has ensured clear lines of communication throughout the business and provided a clearer path for our overall growth.

“Lorraine has introduced patient-centred initiatives that have contributed immensely to patient care. Among her most noteworthy achievements, are three tremendously successful ‘Hospital to Home’ projects, which provide digitally-enabled, ring-fenced and highly-trained homecare hospital discharge teams. These projects have reduced hospital stay times, cut hospital re-admissions, improved re-enablement success rates, and freed up hundreds of acute care bed spaces across three trusts,” he adds.