Jakki Whitehead is an Admiral Nurse at a care home in Bristol, helping residents with dementia and their families stay connected – like Sue Read and her mum Shirley.
Sue says: “Looking back, Mum had all the signs of dementia. She blew all her money; we still don’t know what she did with it.
Eventually, the doctor diagnosed her, and she went into an independent living facility.
But she was going round knocking on doors. The police kept coming out, and Mum was sectioned.
I first met Jakki when she assessed mum at the psychiatric hospital. The hospital wanted to discharge her into the care home, but Jakki ensured she wasn’t transferred until her medication was correct and she was ready. It was a big relief to have someone fighting our corner.
A month later, Mum made the move. The care home is fantastic. A lot of that is down to Jakki, and her training of staff. You can always get hold of her if you’re unsure about something, and she regularly reviews Mum’s medication. I feel like a big cloud has come off. Mum’s so well looked-after.
So many other relatives at the home want to see Jakki – it would be great if there was more than one Admiral Nurse, they’re so vital.”
Jakki says: “I had been a service manager for people with dementia for three years when I noticed there were more people with dementia with complex needs coming into the home. Wanting to give them the best care, the care home supported my application to be an Admiral Nurse so that I could access the best practice training and supervision support from Dementia UK.
The Dementia UK induction was amazing. I thought I knew a lot about dementia, but I didn’t really!
Now my role is to support people with dementia and their families – like Sue and Shirley – in the care home. I also train staff and get great satisfaction knowing that I’ve helped get our carers to the fantastic level of dementia care they’re at now.
I’m in an ideal position to get to know the residents, their families, the staff – and the multidisciplinary team involved in their care. That means I can help facilitate good relationship-centred, co-ordinated support – the kernel of great dementia care.”