Admiral Nurses

What is an Admiral Nurse?

Admiral Nurses are specialist dementia nurses who give much-needed practical and emotional support to family carers, as well as the person with dementia. They offer support to families throughout their experience of dementia that is tailored to their individual needs and challenges. They provide families with the knowledge to understand the condition and its effects, the skills and tools to improve communication, and provide emotional and psychological support to help family carers carry on caring for their family member.

They are able to take on complex cases and provide specialist support and advice.

The Work of Admiral Nurses, supporting carers of people with dementia from Dementia UK on Vimeo.

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Admiral Nurses:

  • Focus on the needs of the family carer, including psychological support to help family carers understand and deal with their thoughts, feelings and behavior and to adapt to the changing situation.
  • Use a range of specialist interventions that help people live well with the condition and develop skills to improve communication and maintain relationships.
  • Work with families as an invaluable source of contact and support at particular points of difficulty in the dementia journey, including diagnosis, when the condition progresses, or when tough decisions need to be made such as moving a family member into residential care.
  • Help families cope with feelings of loss and bereavement as the condition progresses.
  • Provide advice on referrals to other appropriate services and liaise with other healthcare professionals on behalf of the family.

Admiral Nurses uniquely join up the different parts of the health and social care system, and enable the needs of family carers and people with dementia to be addressed in a co-ordinated way.

The community based services means that the person with dementia can stay at home, better able to cope, able to live more independently and live more positively with dementia.

The service greatly reduces the burden on the NHS. An evaluation of an Admiral Nurse pilot in Norfolk identified savings of over £440,000 for health and social care in the area in just the first 10 months. It reduced contact time of affected families’ with GPs, nurses and social workers and avoided unnecessary hospital admissions and care home costs.

Currently, the majority of Admiral Nurses work within the NHS supporting people in the community. However, Admiral Nurses also work in other care settings such as care homes and in the community supported by voluntary organisations.

Dementia UK works in partnership with NHS providers and commissioners, social care authorities and voluntary sector organisations to promote and develop new Admiral Nursing services. We're responsible for upholding standards, sustaining service and supporting Admiral Nurses in practice.

Established as a result of the experiences of family carers, Admiral Nurses are named after Joseph Levy who had vascular dementia and was known as Admiral Joe because of his keen interest in sailing.

Admiral Nurses also uniquely join up the different parts of the health and social care system and enable the needs of family carers and people with dementia to be addressed in a co-ordinated way.

Dementia UK's aim

There are specialist nurses for conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, we strongly feel that specialist nursing support should also be available to everyone affected by dementia around the country. Our aim is to ensure an Admiral Nurse is available to everyone who needs them.