Family carers struggling with health and social care services, taking on the responsibility of caring, and the impact it’s having on their own health.
From Saturday 2 April, 2016 Dementia UK will be opening its helpline at the weekend, on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00am to 5:00pm, to provide additional support to families living with the effects of dementia. The helpline – Admiral Nursing Direct which is run by specialist dementia nurses – will also be open every weekday evening from Tuesday 3 May 2016; extending week day hours from Monday to Friday 9:00am-9:00pm. The extended opening hours are due to Dementia UK seeing the number of calls it receives from family carers grow by over one-third (35%) in the last year.
An evaluation report of the Admiral Nursing Direct helpline has revealed that over a quarter of calls (28%) included some kind of complaint about health and social care services and support. Eighty per cent of calls included discussions of the difficulties the family carer was experiencing on a daily basis with the person living with dementia; and nearly a third of calls (31%) included conversations with family carers about the negative impact caring was having on their personal well-being including frustration, distress and exhaustion.
In more than three-quarters of the calls (78%), Admiral Nurses on the helpline gave specific advice to the caller on issues they weren’t getting adequate support with to help plug the ‘care gap’. Issues our Admiral Nurses helped family carers with included: the health and social care system, living arrangements, medication, self-care, how to get a diagnosis of dementia, safety issues, eating problems, activities, communication, and finance.
Hilda Hayo, Chief Admiral Nurse and CEO Dementia UK said: “Family carers are increasingly turning to Dementia UK’s Admiral Nursing Direct helpline to gain the advice and support that they are unable to obtain from their local health and social care services, due to a funding or specialist skills shortage.
Post-diagnosis dementia care is patchy across the UK and it really is a post-code lottery. We have 164 Admiral Nurses (who are specialist dementia nurses) across the country, and we are striving to increase this to 200 by the end of this year. But this simply isn’t enough to support the number of family carers who are struggling to cope. Our Admiral Nursing Direct helpline is a lifeline to many family carers and we are pleased to be able to extend our helpline opening hours to support them.”
Contact Dementia UK’s specialist helpline, Admiral Nursing Direct on 0800 888 6678 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The helpline is staffed by experienced Admiral Nurses, who give vital support by telephone or email.