International Nurses Day provides us with an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the role of our Admiral Nurses here in Lincolnshire.
We have a team of six specialist dementia nurses who work alongside the families of people living with dementia. This project began in June 2019 and we have received just under 500 referrals since then, with each referral being a person living with dementia and one or more family members acting as carers.
The clinical knowledge and skill set of our Admiral Nurses allows them to provide one-to-one support to prevent crisis and build carers resilience. This is done by providing support for today and making the future a little less uncertain. Carers often fail to recognise themselves as such and so many do not access the help they so desperately need. Receiving a diagnosis of dementia, displaying symptoms of distress, an unnecessary hospital admission can all have a devastating effect and impact upon the quality of life of the carer and the person living with dementia. This is where Admiral Nurses can help, by providing people with the necessary ‘know how’, offering practical advice or quite simply ‘being there’ for them. It is not uncommon for people to say to our Admiral Nurses that they have been the only ones to truly listen or to understand their story.
The work our Admiral Nurses do can be more complex as they advocate for families, help to prevent carer breakdown, support decisions around end-of-life care and transitions into care. They aim to make a lasting difference to each and every patient, family member and carer.
Every situation is unique and people’s experience varies, which is why the work of the Admiral Nurse changes day to day.
Our Admiral Nursing team has first-class support from Dementia UK, who take the lead in systematically developing the nurses using a competency framework. Lincolnshire County Council have also been key funders of the project as part of their Carer’s Strategy.
Tom Rose, Admiral Nurse Clinical Lead, said:
“The opportunity to work in a truly holistic manner, balancing people’s needs and working alongside people reaps its own rewards. We share the feeling that the work we do utilises our skills and strengths as nurses and as people.
“Many people value the importance of being surrounded by like-minded people at work. Nurses are no different and therefore we are extremely fortunate to sit within the multi-professional team at St Barnabas. Not only have we been able to contribute to the valuable work of the Hospice, but they have also developed our own understanding and skills in supporting those living with dementia. In recognition of all nurses around the world well done and thank you.”
We aim to keep spreading the word about the work our Admiral Nurses do and to make sure everyone who needs support from an Admiral Nurse has the opportunity.