My name is Jan Burt and I was amazed at the lack of knowledge in the community regarding the help and support that is given to carers of people with dementia by Admiral Nursing care. It is improving but still health organisations are not recognising the difference an Admiral Nurse can make to the life of a carer so are not giving this fundamental service the priority it deserves.
When things get challenging or difficult, the Admiral Nurse will work alongside people with dementia, and their families: giving them one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions. The unique dementia expertise and experience an Admiral Nurse brings is a lifeline – it helps families to live more positively with dementia in the present, and to face the challenges of tomorrow with more confidence and less fear.
As many of you will be aware, I started my campaign in 2010 to get Admiral Nurses for Hertfordshire and since then I have managed to raise over £90,000 with your help. Looking after someone with dementia is not easy but Admiral Nurses help in these varying ways:
- If communication gets hard, the Admiral Nurse will help with skills and techniques to help the carer stay connected to the person they love.
- If someone with dementia is showing signs of fear or distress, Admiral Nurses will work with them to find the best ways of preventing or managing this.
- If the family is struggling to cope, the Admiral Nurse will be there to offer emotional support and help get your loved one the best possible additional care.
- If you have questions you can’t get answered the Admiral Nurse will take the time to really understand the problem, and give you the expert support you need to tackle it.
It is for all these reasons that I have campaigned so passionately for carers to have access to these specialist dementia nurses. They provide specialist one-to-one support and work hand in hand with families, helping them to cope with the fear, uncertainty and difficult everyday reality of dementia. I was not lucky enough to have benefitted from an Admiral Nurse but I have seen the difference it has made to those who were so I am delighted to report that in 2018 we now have four Admiral Nurses covering the whole of Hertfordshire, and we also have an Admiral Nurse based in the Lister Hospital. In addition, interest has been shown by two hospices in Hertfordshire who wish to have Admiral Nurses as a part of the service they offer.
This is an amazing achievement and with your continued support, we will be able to ensure that all families affected by dementia in Hertfordshire are able to access the specialist one-to-one support and expert advice that carers so desperately need.
Having access to an Admiral Nurse is currently a postcode lottery, there are none in Beds or Bucks. How can that possibly be right? They help people to live well with dementia not suffer because of it. Dementia UK does support a national helpline which anyone can access 0800 888 6678 but it is no substitute for face to face contact.
Sadly my husband took his last flight to that crew room in the sky in 2015 which has allowed me to increase my passion of raising awareness as I believe that Admiral Nurses are essential to the carer of a patient suffering with dementia as they can provide that individualised support – I believe an Admiral Nurse will help carers to adjust to the pace of this inevitable process but more importantly the support they provide will allow carers to keep their loved ones at home for much longer as they will be emotionally stronger to look after their needs. Admiral Nurses provide a comprehensive assessment of the need that is required by carers and can suggest a range of therapeutic approaches designed to promote the carer’s emotional well-being as well as equipping them with the skills and information they need to ease the pain of this journey in their life as their loved ones condition continues to deteriorate.
In my lifetime I may never see a world without dementia but I hope to see one that positively accepts it.