Nurse honoured by the Princess Royal for end-of-life care

16 December 2020

A Telford nurse is to be presented with a top award by HRH the Princess Royal for her commitment to supporting terminally ill prisoners to die with dignity.Deanna Mezen

Deanna Mezen, who works at HMP Oakwood, will be presented with one of only 10 Butler Trust Awards given each year. The presentation will be made by Princess Anne at a special ceremony next year. The awards recognise outstanding work from people working in prisons, probation, and youth justice settings.

Deanna was nominated by Practice Plus Group West Midlands deputy regional manager Jeff Parker. Jeff said: “Deanna has shown immense dedication and we are all incredibly proud of her. Creating an end-of-life pathway, that means terminally ill prisoners can choose to move to a hospice or stay in prison, is an exceptional feat. For many patients staying in prison is important as it has been their home for many years. Now they know they can stay and still receive exceptional care in a dignified setting.

Deanna works closely with G4S, which runs the prison, to change attitudes towards palliative care inside. She said: “I was delighted when I heard the news, but none of this could have been achieved without the incredible help of my Health in Justice colleagues at HMP Oakwood and the wonderful G4S team, who have shown great compassion.

“Without their help we would not be able to stay at night to give medication to those in the final stages and, as a result, they would not be able to stay in prison. The officers have also been there to unlock patients’ close friends: the last three people on the end-of-life pathway have taken their last breath with their friends around them.”

Deanna and the Health in Justice team have worked closely with Compton Hospice, in Wolverhampton, to ensure all the support needed by patients is available whether in the prison or on their transfer to the hospice. Deanna says the hospice’s support and expertise has been invaluable.

G4S prison director John McLaughlin said: “”Deanna is one of the most inspiring nurses I have ever worked with. Her passion for improvement and change know no boundaries,” he said.

“She has created an end of life pathway that is the envy of the prison service. She does everything with great professionalism and always with the care of residents at the heart.”

This is Deanna’s second award this year. She also won Care UK’s Nurse of the Year award for her work supporting armed service veterans in HMP Oakwood.

Bring your talent and passion to healthcare. View our current vacancies.