Living with dementia can be a struggle and have a physical, psychological, practical and emotional impact on both the person diagnosed and their families. It is therefore essential that everyone has the support and advice needed to live as well as they possibly can, when faced with the challenges that dementia can bring.
In Leeds, The Royal British Legion have worked in partnership with Dementia UK to develop an Admiral Nurse Service. Nicky Addison, Regional Lead Admiral Nurse – Leeds tells us more about their amazing work .What is an Admiral Nurse?
Admiral Nurses are registered nurses who specialise in dementia, offering support, information and advice to the family carers of people who have dementia. The aim of the Admiral Nurse is to enable families to gain the knowledge and skills needed to care for a person and to help them to live more positively with dementia.
How can they help?
The Admiral Nurse will begin by getting to know the carer and undertake a comprehensive assessment of their needs, the needs of the family as a whole and those of the person with dementia. This will enable them to establish the type of support that is needed and create a plan of care.
This might include the following types of support:
Psychological support for those who are struggling to cope with the emotional and psychological impact of caring for a family member with dementia. Those caring for a person with dementia can experience low mood as they struggle with the changes taking place in both their lifestyle and the person they care for. They may also suffer from carer strain when faced with the challenges that supporting a person with dementia can bring about. Feelings of guilt are also commonly experienced by family carers as they feel that they are failing to adequately support their loved ones. Admiral Nurses provide the opportunity for them to explore their thoughts and feelings and provide the emotional and psychological support needed to improve their mood and sense of well being.
Practical advice and information on caring and supporting those with dementia.
Help to develop and improve skills in care giving.
Those caring for a person with dementia may struggle to meet their needs and need advice on aspects of care giving such as how to ensure that they maintain an adequate food and fluid intake and how to manage continence issues. It can also include exploring evidence based strategies for dealing symptoms such as disorientation, anxiety, restlessness or agitation.
Support and guidance in accessing the appropriate services and support available in the local area.
This may involve working with the carer and helping them to realise the need for additional means of support and feel able to engage with the services available. The Admiral Nurse can then support them with accessing services such as home care, respite, day care and permanent care home placements with the aim of helping them to avoid crisis.
Liaison with other professionals and organisations to ensure that families obtain coordinated support. This may involve or liaising with GP’s or memory services, helping to plan discharge from hospital and working with social workers when putting support packages in place.
Working with families to enable then to express their views and influence the services they receive from other providers. Not everyone is aware that they have the right to a say about the service being provided and can lack the confidence to do so. The Admiral Nurse can assist them with this and advise them on what they are entitled to and the best way to express their opinion and voice any concerns they may have. The Admiral Nurse can also act as an advocate where appropriate
Assistance with preparing for the future. This may involve the Admiral Nurse advising family carers about possible prognosis and ways of preparing for the future which may help them to avoid crisis such as looking at home care providers or care homes, having LPA in place and considering issues such as Advanced Care Planning.
Who can access The Royal British Legion Admiral Nurse service in Leeds?
Any carer or person with dementia in the Leeds area who has served in the British armed forces, including National Service, for seven days of more.
How to access this service:
Anyone wishing to refer themselves or make a referral on someone’s behalf can contact the team directly by ringing the Leeds office: 0333 011 4508 or the Royal British Legion contact centre: 0808 802 8080.
Further information on The Royal British Legion can be found on the website: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk
For those who are not eligible for The Royal British Legion Admiral Nurse service, they can ring the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or email email@example.com
Further information about Admiral Nursing and dementia resources can be found on the Dementia UK website http://www.dementiauk.org