Guest blog post by Dr Hilda Hayo, Chief Admiral Nurse and CEO Dementia UK
Sadly, one in four hospital beds are occupied by someone with dementia. Being admitted to hospital can be both physically and emotionally demanding for people with dementia. The hospital environment can be unfamiliar, disorientating, and the person may find it difficult to communicate their needs.
Family carers are the experts in the care of their loved one with dementia and should always be consulted throughout the hospital stay. That’s why Dementia UK strongly supports the NFWI’s Carers Welcome campaign which is championing the rights of family carers. An approach to hospital care that includes family carers as ‘partners in care’, as well as allowing greater flexibility when it comes to visiting hours, enables families to be on-hand when needed, to speak up for the best interests of their loved one, and be a reassuring presence for the person with dementia when they may be feeling distressed or anxious.
Specialist dementia support for families
It is also incredibly important that families have access to one-to-one specialist dementia support to help them cope with the changes and challenges that a dementia diagnosis can bring.
Admiral Nurses, are specialist dementia nurses provided by the charity Dementia UK. They find solutions that others may not be in a position to consider – from identifying complex clinical issues, which are linked to other medical conditions, to the impact of dementia on family relationships and handling dementia-related behavioural issues which require clinical expertise, as well as being a listening ear.
Admiral Nurses use their dementia expertise to support the whole family living with dementia. They work hand in hand with families, helping them cope with the fear, uncertainty and difficult everyday reality of dementia. In providing the compassionate support families need every step of the way, they help them to live more positively with dementia in the present; and to face the challenges of tomorrow with more confidence, and less fear.
The majority of Admiral Nurses work in the community and are also a link between health and social care to ensure that families receive better co-ordinated care. Dementia UK is also partnering with a growing number of hospitals to bring this specialist support to families in an acute hospital environment to minimize the stress and distress that some patients with a diagnosis of dementia – and their families – feel when they’re in a hospital. They share knowledge and skills with families to build resilience to better able them to cope and help prevent future crises.
Anyone affected by dementia can access an Admiral Nurse’s expertise via Dementia UK’s Admiral Nursing Direct helpline which is staffed by experienced Admiral Nurses and open 7 days a week.
Dementia UK is committed to growing the number of Admiral Nurses in the community and in acute settings but as a charity we are solely reliant on support from fundraisers and donors to make this possible. Please visit our website to find out more about Admiral Nurses and how you can support our work.
Support the Carers Welcome campaign
Are you an unpaid family carer of someone with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia?
Has the person you care for with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia spent time as a patient in hospital over the last five or so years?
If you answered ‘yes’ to the above two questions, then we need your help. As part of our Carers Welcome campaign for the rights of carers to access their loved one in hospital, we have launched a survey examining the experiences of carers just like you. Please help the campaign by filling out our survey and ensuring your voice is heard. Policy makers need evidence to support the case for change and encourage hospitals to improve.
To take the survey online visit:
To request a paper copy of the survey contact the NFWI Public Affairs department at email@example.com or 020 7371 9300 ext.213. The survey should take 30-45 minutes to complete, depending on how detailed you wish to be. All responses will be kept strictly confidential. The survey closes 15 May 2017.
|Dr Hilda Hayo|