Jakki Whitehead, an experienced care professional, is hoping to become one of dementia care’s ‘beacons of excellence’ – an Admiral Nurse. This blog follows her journey from day one.
Last month I wrote about how I started on the road to become an Admiral Nurse, following the decision by Springhill Care Group’s management to support me in an ambition I had held for 5 years.
The name Admiral Nurse was used in memory of sailor Joseph Levy CBE BEM who had vascular dementia and was known fondly as Admiral Joe. The service was first piloted in Westminster in 1990 as a result of family carers realising that there was gap in advice and support given to families and friends of people with dementia. The nurses are available to support families from the point of diagnosis throughout the dementia journey as well as helping to improve the quality of life of the person with dementia.
In a pilot in the NHS it was shown that the counselling and information given by Admiral Nurses had improved quality of life for people with dementia and their carers. In fact, 12 cases were identified which would have resulted in mental health services being involved if the Admiral Nurse had not been present. It was estimated that almost £1/2 million was saved over a ten month period by health and social care services in this project.
Another benefit of Admiral Nurses is that they provide specialist consultancy and education to professionals from the full range of disciplines working with people with dementia.The other professionals, such as GPs, social workers and nurses, reported that they felt more confident in supporting people with dementia and their carers, with the Admiral Nurse service’s support.
With regard my own journey, once the directors at Springhill had given me the go ahead I contacted Dementia UK and was lucky enough to meet Wendy Weidner, business development manager, at a Dementia Care conference in Bristol and also at the Dementia Congress event; Wendy spent time explaining the role of Dementia UK in developing the Admiral Nurse service, it was registered as a charity in 1994 and gave me some documentation to read.
In March this year Riversway Nursing Home’s general manager Jan Wilkins and I met with Wendy and Rachel, a business development manager, to discuss how dementia care as been developed at Riversway and of our joint passionate belief in excellent care for those residents with dementia and their relatives.
We spoke of how Dementia UK can support Riversway to look at how care is carried out now and how it can be developed over the next few years. Using technology to measure improvements can help in an area where it is notoriously difficult to measure the benefits for those with dementia, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
I am really looking forward to the best practice days and quality supervision and seeing how these can help to develop and improve quality of life for those with dementia and their relatives.
My next step, however, is to await an interview with Dementia UK
By Jakki Whitehead, Service Manager for People with Dementia, Riversway Nursing Home
To learn more about Admiral Nurses on DementiaUK click HERE to be redirected to the website