There are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK. Providing a beacon of guidance, support, and care is a crucial team of workers: Admiral Nurses. Giving specialist dementia support to families, Admiral Nurse Rachel Murray discusses her role.
“Admiral Nurses are there to help care for the carer,” explains Rachel Murray, who worked as a registered nurse for over 20 years, before becoming an Admiral Nurse two years ago.
“It’s identifying the pivotal role that carers have.”
Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms, which can include memory loss and communication issues, affecting people of all ages.
Rachel continues: “It is important that the label of dementia is not just an elderly disease as currently in the Uk 42,325 individuals are diagnosed with a young onset dementia – that’s about 5% of all dementia diagnosis recorded.”
For this reason support is essential.
Dementia UK trains, develops and supports Admiral Nurses in their roles.
Did you know: Admiral Nurses are named after Joseph Levy CBE BEM, who was affectionately known as Admiral Joe by his family
“There is not a day goes by where I don’t think how fortunate I am to meet carers who work tirelessly,” continues Rachel. “And it’s all out of love.”
Working across six GP centres in her local authority, Rachel guides families to ensure the best service is made available for their loved one – whilst being committed to supporting the mental wellbeing of a carer.
Rachel explains: “If it has been identified that a family is struggling I receive a referral and we look at any aspect of support for that family.
“What is so important within this role is the fact that if a family is struggling, then it doesn’t matt er what they are struggling with. Dementia turns everything upside down, and it is so unpredictable.”
From providing skills and techniques to encourage communication to allow families to stay connected all the way to helping families to live positively, Admiral Nurses have a plethora of techniques to assist families.
Dementia is an isolating, and at times terrifying condition, that’s why the work nurses such as Rachel do is imperative.
But, from Rachel’s experiences, families are excelling in figuring out the best way to stand by their loved one.
“People have adjusted and changed their day-to-day so they can understand their loved one,” enthuses Rachel. “That is so essential with all dementia care, it’s learning to adjust and adapt.”
Having aided in setting up a Dementia Carers Course in her local area – where carers and their loved one can attend a training session alongside healthcare professionals to legal aid – Rachel, and the team of Admiral Nurses across the UK are bringing a shining light into the darkest times of dementia.
“Even before I carried out my nursing training, I always admired the older person and their wealth of expertise.
“It is never just somebody sitting in a chair – it is a tap dancer, or someone who fought in the war. The experience an older person can share is absolutely phenomenal,” emphasises Rachel.
“This is an individual person, and whatever way we can try and capture that back into finding what wealth of life they have lived is just such an honour.”