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Admiral Nurse Angela Molineaux

Getting to know you: Angela Molineaux

Angela Molineaux is a dementia specialist Admiral Nurse based in the London Borough of Sutton, supporting local families affected by dementia.

When did you first become interested in dementia?

I first became interested in dementia when I was a Matron in Specialist and Emergency Medicine and saw how people living with dementia had negative outcomes when they were in hospital. They often became very disorientated and distressed in the new environment. Some picked up infections or lost skills that they had before going into hospital. This started my curiosity in looking at how we could improve their experiences.

At the same time my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia, and I was navigating that pathway as a daughter. I was totally overwhelmed by working full-time and trying to help her. I think the professionals who were looking after her assumed that as a nurse, I knew what I was doing or didn’t need support. I just had to get on with things, and our family muddled through the journey. It was an extremely stressful and painful experience for all of us.

When did you realise that you wanted to become a specialist dementia nurse?

I have been a nurse since the 1980s and worked in numerous settings including hospitals, the community and private sector healthcare. I have always had an affinity with people living with dementia and wanted to work exclusively as a specialist dementia nurse. However, I was never in the right place at the right time.

Over the years, I took opportunities to lead in dementia care strategies and initiatives in whichever setting I worked in. I attended seminars and conferences on dementia and presented case studies of good practice.

During the pandemic, I decided to leave the hospital setting and focus on community work, primarily working with people living with dementia and case managing their care at home. This opportunity gave me more experience in influencing positive outcomes of care at home.

How did you hear about Admiral Nursing?

I started to investigate how I could work exclusively in the dementia nursing field and discovered Admiral Nursing – but there were no vacancies locally at the time. I waited for three years, then an Admiral Nurse vacancy was advertised in the London Borough of Sutton. I applied and was fortunate to be successful. I have been in my role for eight months now, and after 35 years, I am in my dream job.

What is special about being an Admiral Nurse?

I love being an Admiral Nurse because we are there for the whole family, and I know how important that feels when you are struggling. Other healthcare professionals are focused on the person living with dementia, but Admiral Nurses are there for the family too.

Our interventions can help avoid unnecessary hospital admissions by proactively identifying and managing risks. We can often prevent an admission by educating family members on signs of health deterioration in the person with dementia, so they can be treated early at home without needing to go into hospital.

We help the family member to keep the person living with dementia safe and well, which can enable them to stay at home for longer. We also support the carer to look after their own wellbeing.

I am able to build relationships with people during a time when they feel vulnerable and may feel no one understands – and that, for me, is a privilege.