Zena Aldridge, Admiral Nurse Research Fellow at Dementia UK, has temporarily returned to the Central Norfolk Admiral Nurse team where she became the first Admiral Nurse in the area back in 2014.
Her return, through the support of NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Dementia UK, has occurred in an attempt to offer extra support when an increasing number of families with dementia are struggling to cope with coronavirus.
Zena’s primary responsibility for two days a week, alongside her role at Dementia UK, will see her triaging the waiting list of families in need, and responding to calls where families are experiencing a significant amount of distress.
Zena will be supporting families in the local area to complement this, ensuring they have a supply of essential items as well as checking on people who may be feeling isolated.
She is also answering a number of calls from health and social care professionals who are looking to find more information about the implications of coronavirus for people with dementia, and how best they can support them.
Commenting on her return to the Admiral Nurse team, Zena said: “The arrival of coronavirus has caused a fundamental shift in our day to day lives. It’s so important to adapt and help out however you can. Families with dementia can feel particularly vulnerable at this time, as normal support networks shut down. This can increase feelings of isolation and distress which families affected by the condition already face.”
“It’s so important for me to be able to return to the Admiral Nurse team in Norfolk. The compassion and willingness of all of the team to help families affected by dementia however much they can is a shining beacon of positivity in what are very trying times. It’s great to be able to support them during this difficult time too.
“There absolutely needs to be a coordinated effort, identifying gaps in support which will ultimately help the wider health and social care systems in supporting more families in need – this is the essence of what the Admiral Nurse team in Central Norfolk does, and I couldn’t be prouder of them, I am incredibly grateful to Norfolk and Waveney CCG and Dementia UK who have allowed me to refocus some of my work to support them over the coming weeks .”
It’s through the training, support and development provided by Dementia UK that Zena and the other Admiral Nurses across Norfolk and the UK are able to carry out their vital function.
If any family with dementia is concerned about what coronavirus means to them, you can visit our online hub