Can an Admiral Nurse help in dementia care?
With dementia fast-becoming the most talked about condition in the UK, a disease which David Cameron describes as the ‘greatest enemy of humanity’, it’s important to know who can help should your parent or relative receive a diagnosis.
Admiral Nurses have long been supporting families affected by dementia and continue to do so today. But what do they actually do? What’s within their remit and when do we need carers or other healthcare professionals to step in? We share an insight into the work they do.
What training does an Admiral Nurse have?
All Admiral Nurses must first have a Registered Mental Nurse (RMN) qualification after which they’ll need to complete post registration courses in dementia care and mentor or teacher preparation.
Once these courses are completed they must demonstrate experience of working in the community, working with other care professionals and providing dementia training as well as 2 years post-qualification experience and 2 years’ experience of working with dementia sufferers and their carers.
Needless to say the level of qualifications and amount of experience for an Admiral Nurse role is reassuringly high.
What can an Admiral Nurse do for my parent?
Admiral Nurses offer tailored support for people with all forms of dementia living in the local community. They act as care-coordinators providing a comprehensive need assessment in order to help dementia sufferers live positively and support them and their families through what can be a difficult journey both emotionally and mentally.
If your parent or their partner has dementia an Admiral Nurse will facilitate a better understanding of the condition as well as providing advice on referrals to other services that could enhance their quality of life.
They liaise with other healthcare professionals dealing with your parent’s dementia on your behalf often acting as a bridge between health and social care services so that their needs are taken into consideration and communicated effectively and consistently between care teams.
If you’d like to know more about what to expect from an Admiral Nurse Dementia UK outline the standards Admiral Nurses should uphold as well as the Competency Framework they should adhere to on their site.
What can’t an Admiral Nurse do for my parent?
An Admiral Nurse doesn’t fulfil the same role as a dementia carer although both share an extensive wealth of experience and expertise. An Admiral Nurse can’t assist your parent with their personal care needs but they can ensure that they’re receiving the care and support they need through access to local health and social care services.
While they have a certain duty of care for your parent’s needs – physical, emotional or mental – they’re not responsible for delivering this care themselves. They’re able to equip you and your parent with the information and skills you need to better cope with a dementia diagnosis and the aspects of dementia care that can become difficult to manage as the dementia progresses.
How do I get my parent referred to an Admiral Nurse?
There are many healthcare professionals who can refer you and your parent to an Admiral Nurse including their GP, their local mental health team, social care services etc. A referral can be for a number of different reasons including a definitive dementia diagnosis, suspected dementia diagnosis or in aid of supporting you and your parent cope better. You can view an example of a typical referral form here.
If your parent hasn’t received a referral it doesn’t mean that they can’t access the support of an Admiral Nurse. You can get in touch with your parent’s local Admiral Nurse service to arrange an appointment or use Dementia UK’s interactive map to pinpoint the nearest Admiral Nurse team to your parent.
Do I have to pay for an Admiral Nurse?
Admiral Nurse services are funded by charity Dementia UK and supported by NHS Trusts as well as other not-for-profit organisations and as such are heavily reliant on charitable donations. However this means you should never have to pay for an Admiral Nurse’s help whether your parent’s referred to one or you request their help personally.
It’s worthwhile bearing in mind that while the Admiral Nurse service is a national one there are certain areas of the UK that are not currently covered due to a limited number of nursing staff (currently 117 Admiral Nurses) as well as limited funding.
Due to the demand for a greater number of Admiral Nurses Dementia UK has created The Admiral Nurse Academy to support new Admiral Nurses in the field and help them hone their skills by providing a resource for professional development.
If you need advice on dementia care or need support in caring for a parent or relative you can call the national helpline Admiral Nursing DIRECT on 0845 257 9406 or email [email protected] to talk to experienced Admiral Nurses about your concerns.
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