Improving the lives of people with dementia

Categories: Care and People & Places.

Since Devon-based charity Hospiscare appointed Chrissy Hussey as Admiral Nurse in 2017, she has significantly improved the way the organisation works with people with dementia and their families.

Within her first years of service she has delivered in-depth training sessions to 140 professionals within Hospiscare, as well as provided tailored support to families facing the most challenging cases of the condition.

The training has allowed staff within the hospice to develop a comprehensive understanding of the different subtypes of dementia, its signs and its symptoms. It has also built up the confidence of staff to explore creative ways to reconnect to a person with dementia.

Admiral Nurses provide one-to-one support, practical advice and expert guidance that helps people face dementia with more confidence and less fear. They are trained and supported by the charity Dementia UK.

The nurses work across a variety of settings, including in the community for the NHS, care homes, hospitals and hospices. When Chrissy was appointed just over two years ago she became the very first Admiral Nurse in a hospice in the South West. She says:

“Being an Admiral Nurse is about shining a light so that carers for someone with dementia don’t get lost in a system which does little to support them. It’s also about shining a light on health and social care professionals so they have the expertise and the awareness to be pioneers and experts in dementia themselves, particularly in the case of end of life care.”

Tina Naldrett, Director of Care from Hospiscare, says:

“Carers are integral to our relationships when we deliver care, they are in the middle of the day-to-day and they are the expert in their person, whilst we come alongside with other clinical and specialist expertise. We have to listen and support those who find themselves in a carer’s role and this is something our Admiral Nurse has been able to do.

“We have seen a real difference in the skills our staff have now from working alongside such a subject expert. I would recommend all hospices to consider having their own Admiral Nurse role.”

Dr Hilda Hayo, CEO and Chief Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK, adds:

“Since her appointment, Chrissy has demonstrated just how vital Admiral Nurses can be. Not only does she support the complex needs of people with dementia and their families but also educates and provides support to health and social care professionals to allow them to deliver the best dementia care possible.”

Dementia UK currently has 270 Admiral Nurses and it is well on track to have 300 in place by 2030.

 There are two referral routes to access the services: either via internal Hospiscare professionals, or via external health and social care professionals such as GPs, Community Matrons and the Older People’s Mental Health Team.

 For more information visit Hospiscare