How Admiral Nurses help those living with dementia

Registered nurses who specialise in dementia form a vital part of the Legion’s independent living support.

The Royal British Legion has always seen the need to support its beneficiaries living with dementia and their carers. That's why we work with Dementia UK to provide Admiral Nurses, a service that offers specialist support, information and advice.

There’s a pressing need: more than 700,000 people in the UK have dementia. Over the next 30 years, this is expected to double.

The UK’s ex-Service community is largely elderly, with almost half of them over 75 and nearly two thirds over 65. Living with dementia can be an incredibly hard experience, often lonely experience for the person with dementia and their carer.

Admiral Nurses are registered nurses who specialise in dementia, helping family carers gain the necessary skills to assist with dementia care, promoting positive approaches in living well with dementia and improving the quality of life for everyone involved.

Helen Buckley, Admiral Nurse, with Ron and his carer Lorraine.

Above: Helen Buckley (in the centre), Admiral Nurse West Midlands, with Ron and his carer Lorraine.

The nurses provide expert support every step of the way. They offer practical advice, and emotional and psychological support from diagnosis to post bereavement, helping people deal with feelings that are often complex. They help carers to develop coping strategies and offer a single point of contact, helping to join up different parts of the health and social care system to meet people’s in a coordinated way.

Above all, these are trained professionals with a deep understanding and experience of this condition who support people at difficult times in their dementia journey: when the condition progresses, or when tough decisions need to be made, such as moving a family member into residential care.

There are four Legion Admiral Nurse services: the original two, based in Lancashire and the West Midlands, and two more that recently began to operate in Hampshire and Somerset.

“Our nurses have supported families through the journey of dementia – from providing education at the point of diagnosis, to helping the family achieve their wishes when their loved one is placed in care or with end of life decisions." Lead Nurse Ben Upton, Admiral Nurses

How Admiral Nurses work

  • Admiral Nurses will be working collaboratively with other organisations during Dementia Awareness Week, to raise the profile of the disease and to encourage early diagnosis.
  • The nurses work in tandem with the Legion’s area teams and wider Legion services – for example, the Break Centres – to ensure that our beneficiaries receive a seamless service.
  • Admiral Nurses promote the Legion and its role in supporting our Armed Forces community, raising the profile of the charity significantly in the areas where the teams operate.

Hopes and challenges for the future

  • Faced with an ageing population, and one that recognises dementia more readily, the clear challenge for the Legion’s dementia services is the sheer number of families that will need our support in the future.
  • The current economic climate makes accessing help more difficult, as there are fewer services out there for families in need of support.
  • It is inspiring to see the overwhelmingly positive response from our beneficiaries to the development of the Admiral Nurse service. That’s a cause of great hope for the future.

Find out more

Since being set up the Legion's Admiral Nurses team has helped hundreds of families. Find out more information about Admiral Nurses and how they can help.

If you or someone you know might benefit from Admiral Nurse help, call our helpline on 0808 802 8080, and please note that the Legion beneficiary can be the person with dementia or their carer.

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