An Admiral Nurse is a specialist Registered Mental Health Nurse who can offer tailored support for people living with Dementia. They are specialists in their area and act as care-coordinators who can provide expert, practical, clinical and emotional support to families living with dementia. They work with people affected by all types of dementia either in the community, in hospitals, care homes or hospices. They also offer a manned helpline.
Admiral Nurses were named by the family of Joseph Levy CBE BEM, who founded Dementia UK. Joseph had suffered with vascular dementia and was known by his friends and family as ‘Admiral Joe’ because of his love of sailing, so the naming of the nurses is a tribute to his memory.
The nurses can be a welcome addition to those who are caring for their loved ones at home or families who have no idea what to do for the next step. The nurses can not only offer emotional support but practical help as well, helping families to secure state funding to make adjustments to the home and helping to find the right nursing home when the time comes that staying at home is no longer an option. Not everyone with dementia needs an Admiral nurse, however, they are on hand as soon as an official diagnosis has been made and as dementia is progressive, it is always useful to prepare of the next phase.
At present, the service is not nationwide, but there is a helpline which offers 7 day a week assistance 0800 888 6678. For those fortunate enough to live in an area with an Admiral Nurse, the one to one support these specialists can offer is invaluable. The years of experience that each nurse possesses helps families to live more positively with dementia and to help face the challenges of tomorrow with more confidence and less fear.
Admiral Nurses do not provide the same care as a carer – they will not provide your family member with their personal care needs, but they can ensure that they’re receiving the care and support they need via local health and social care services. In order to access the care of an Admiral Nurse, a healthcare professional can provide you with a referral after diagnosis. If you don’t have a referral, it is still possible to get in touch with your local Admiral Nurse service to arrange an appointment. The nurses are funded by the charity Dementia UK and supported by NGS Trusts as well as other not-for-profit organisations so the service is free to use.
Funding for these nurses is vital – they deliver a great service which has a big impact on the quality of life of people living with dementia. There is well-supported evidence that Admiral nurses can help avoid or delay nursing home admissions, as well as avoiding acute hospital admissions – South Norfolk CCG claimed that its three Admiral Nurses saved £440,000 in health and social care costs in 9 months back in 2013. They are walking dementia encyclopedias – able to work through the fear and distress that dementia patients can show, offer skills and techniques to help avoid communication problems when things become tricky and answer any questions you and your family may have when it comes to caring for someone with dementia.
As the number of people living with dementia grows year on year, the hope is that through NHS funding and charitable donations, Admiral Nurses will be on hand to help every single person in need, and their families, through their journeys with dementia.