There are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this is set to rise to over one million by 2021. Here at Farleigh we have witnessed the growing need for dementia care, and this is why back in May we recruited Julie Green, our new Admiral Nurse.

Admiral Nurses came about through the experiences of the family of Joseph Levy CBE BEM. They founded Dementia UK, the charity providing specialist dementia Admiral Nurses, due to the lack of support for people living with dementia and their families. Joseph had vascular dementia and was known affectionately as ‘Admiral Joe’ because of his love of sailing, and Admiral Nurses were named in his honour.

Julie is one of only 15 Admiral Nurses who specifically work within a hospice environment, and over the past five months she has supported nearly 30 families.

“I provide the specialist dementia support that families need. When things get challenging or difficult, I work alongside the entire family, giving them one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions. Working within a hospice means my role is even more specialised. My sole focus is to support those living with dementia but who are also in need of a specialist assessment of palliative care and have end of life needs.

“I will sit down with a family, taking time to explain what dementia is and how to support someone with the condition. I will help them care for their loved ones by helping them understand the trigger points which impact on their behaviour, as well as symptom and pain control. Together we can discuss Mental Capacity Assessments and Lasting Power of Attorney, planning for the last year of life and preparing a care plan. Care plans are vital to ensure the correct care and support is given, without an effective care plan patients can face up to 12 hospital admissions a year. As well as practical support, I provide emotional support and help families to deal with the changes in personality and look at how they can continue to connect with the person they are caring for.

“The person living with the dementia is always at the heart of everything we do. I want to ensure they receive the correct and appropriate treatment and care. Our overall aim is to provide the guidance and practical solutions they need to live more positively with dementia each and every day, and, when the time comes, to facilitate a natural and dignified death.

“To help improve care for those living with dementia, I also offer an educational programme to other staff members and professionals. Through the courses, I help fellow health care professionals develop their skills, knowledge, confidence and I also offer advice on best practice in dementia.

“I am very lucky that my role is part funded and supported by Dementia UK. This enables me to keep up to date on the latest news and research developments in dementia care. I attend conferences and I am part of a network of Admiral Nurses who work within hospices around the country.

“I am very proud of what we have achieved over the past five months and I believe we are making a real difference to those living with dementia, their families and carers.”

For more information call our Clinical Advice Line on 01245 457478. If you need advice or support on dementia contact Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or email [email protected]. The Helpline is staffed by experienced Admiral Nurses, who give vital support by telephone or email.