Devon’s first Admiral Nurse

Last week saw Devon’s first Admiral Nurse begin work in the Sid Valley. Heidi Crook said she is excited and privileged to begin her new job as the area’s dementia specialist, providing practical and emotional support to families affected by dementia. Her arrival was brought about through an enthusiastic campaign in the community, led by local newspaper the Sidmouth Herald and the Sid Valley Memory Café, with support from the Big Lottery Fund.

Heidi’s first role as a dementia specialist came at the acute trust in Brighton, followed by a period in dementia & Parkinson’s research at Imperial College, before returning to Devon to work in Whipton. She said, “It’s exciting, quite daunting and it’s a privilege. The local community are so behind it and it’s amazing to see.”

Heidi’s announcement has been welcomed by East Devon’s MP Sir Hugo Swire:

“Given that a quarter of the population in Sidmouth is aged over 75 and people are living longer, dealing with dementia effectively and innovatively is an enormous task. I wish Heidi the very best of luck – I am sure she will make a real difference.”

A person carers can go to

Heidi, who is a keen amateur photographer and traveller, said it was important to have a holistic approach and to understand the person in need of support. She added the role of the Admiral Nurse was also important in looking after carers who dedicate themselves to caring for their loved one.

“They need someone to advocate for them and for the carers,” said Heidi. “I’m so happy to see we are now going to have an Admiral Nurse in Devon. Even if it wasn’t me, I would have thought it was amazing. The people that use it always find it so valuable. It’s that person for carers to go to.”

Adrian Ford, on behalf of the Admiral Nurse committee, said: “We are sure that our nurse will make a huge difference to so many families here in the Sid Valley, who are living with dementia, and that, with the continuing support of the community, she will become a permanent fixture.”

Working together with families

Rachel Johnstone, our Business Development Officer, said it was a delight to see the first Admiral Nurse in Devon become a reality, adding: “Living with dementia can sometimes be a hard and lonely experience. Admiral Nurses work together with families and other health and social care professionals to provide the one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions they need to live more positively with dementia each and every day.”

Heidi will be employed by the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and work as part of Sidmouth’s community nursing team.

We are currently recruiting for Admiral Nurses in multiple locations across the UK.