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A day in the life of an Admiral Nurse

Dementia Resource Community Admiral Nurse Laura Birch, 26, covers the Macclesfield, Wilmslow and Knutsford areas of Cheshire. She works alongside the Adults Memory Team at the Jocelyn Solly Resource Centre in Macclesfield.
Here Laura talks about why she was inspired to become an Admiral Nurse and what a typical day looks like as she helps families living with dementia.
“When I was 17, I started working for a care home where I looked after residents living with dementia. Seeing the work that the nurses did to empower those living with the condition was inspiring.
“Since then, I’ve worked on an elderly care ward as a staff nurse and taught dementia care to students in further education.
“Dementia care has always been my passion which is why I recently decided to become an Admiral Nurse. I want to make a positive difference to families and to be there for them in difficult times.
“Providing education, advice and coping strategies to help carers to support a loved one with dementia is so important.
“My role is diverse and no day is the same. I work alongside families dealing with complex symptoms of dementia and help families to manage their caring role. It is an honour to be able to see into their lives and to be the support they need during challenging times.
“Admiral Nurses are continually supported and developed by Dementia UK to provide life-changing support for families affected by all forms of dementia. Nurses come from a variety of specialities, such as mental health, general nursing, and learning disability. This allows us to share our knowledge and help to empower those living with this condition and their families.
“My job is extremely rewarding and I love it. It is a privilege to be able to support those living with dementia, and their families, in the community.”

A typical day for Laura
9am – I begin my day in the office, where I meet with new referrals for future patients who require my support. I catch up on emails and send any required referrals before my first visit of the day. Before I attend my first visit, I collate leaflets and any helpful resources the family may need.
10am – I attend a multi-disciplinary patch team meeting with the memory clinic, providing my support if required, and seeing if any service users would benefit from an Admiral Nurses’ involvement. This meeting allows professionals to come together and to share their knowledge and expertise.
11am – This is my first visit of the day. I am off to see a patient who is 56-years-old and living with young-onset disease. He is newly diagnosed and he and his family are struggling to come to terms with his diagnosis. I am there to guide and support them, giving them the education and information they need to prepare and live well with dementia. I am also there to listen and to make any other referrals I think they may need.
12pm – I have a lunch break before typing up my records to ensure they remain up-to-date. This gives me time to answer voicemail messages and check my emails. I also make referrals to external agencies such as Social Services in this time.
2pm – Off I go to my next visit of the day. I am meeting a patient living with vascular dementia. I have been meeting with this family for a month and I have seen a considerable difference and feel really honoured to see the progress that has been made for them.
4pm – I finish by reflecting on my visits of the day and completing documentation. I spend time checking in with the Memory Team about the visits I have completed.

About the service
Laura is part of a new specialist dementia nurse and memory assessment support service which recently launched in Cheshire East to support local families living with dementia.
The service, which will improve diagnosis rates and post-diagnostic support, is being delivered by Dementia Resource Community in partnership with Dementia UK, the specialist dementia nurse charity.
Dementia is a huge and growing health crisis, with 944,000 people living with the condition in the UK – and this number is set to increase to 1.1m by 2030.
The additional new service has been commissioned by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust and supports their Community Mental Health Teams and follows a successful pilot in Ellesmere Port and Neston which helped more than 700 families.
• For more information on this Admiral Nurse service, please visit https://dementiaresourcecommunity.co.uk/
• For families affected by dementia, Admiral Nurses can help families to manage complex needs. But there aren’t enough specialist dementia nurses to reach every family that needs support. To find out more about becoming an Admiral Nurse, visit www.dementiauk.org/for-professionals/how-to-become-an-admiral-nurse/

This story has appeared in Caring Times.