Admiral Nurses provide support to families who care for people with dementia. Working on the premise that the illness affects both the patient and the family in unique ways, the team have developed a variety of approaches to suit different needs. The aim of this, for both the family and person with dementia, is to improve wellbeing, aid adjustment and coping and enhance understanding of the illness.
Caring for someone with dementia can be extremely physically and emotionally demanding and in many cases carers work hard in order to keep their loved one at home. This often has repercussions on the carer's physical and mental well being. By listening to the views of patients and their families, via surveys and group discussions and engaging them in the development of their services, Admiral Nurses work in partnership with families to ensure they are getting the right sort of support at the right time and in the right places.
The demand for Admiral Nurses' individualised approach far outstrips supply, with 200 new families needing support each year but only three nurses available. With time so scarce, the team have had to be innovative in designing the range of services they offer. These include one-to-one visits or family visits at home, visits in places and at times that suit carers such as in offices, during lunch breaks, in dementia cafes or at support groups and workshops. Carers are also encouraged to support and help each other, with service users increasingly becoming involved in running groups and workshops.
In over 90% of cases, carers feel Admiral Nurses have helped them learn more about dementia, eased the burden and reduced conflict and stress.