A brand new service designed to support people living with dementia at the end of life was launched last Monday at a special event at Kirkwood Hospice.
Prominent healthcare figures, including Prof. David Croisdale-Appleby OBE, joined healthcare professionals from across Kirklees to find out more about the new Admiral Nurse Service, which has been set up to provide specialist advice, guidance and support to people with advanced dementia and their families and carers.
The new service, a first of its kind in Yorkshire, was made possible thanks to an innovative partnership between Kirkwood Hospice, Dementia UK and Kirklees Council.
Guests at the launch heard from Jacqueline Crowther, Kirkwood’s new Admiral Nurse, about how the service will benefit both people with dementia at the end of life, and healthcare professionals responsible for their care.
The Admiral Nurse will work closely with GPs and Community Nurses across Kirklees to offer support when it is needed, when dementia advances or when end of life approaches.
The Admiral Nurse will also offer training to organisations that support people and families living with advanced dementia.
A Registered Mental Health Nurse, Jacqueline has many years of experience working with people living with dementia and their carers and completed a PhD at the University of Liverpool in 2012. Having previously worked with other hospices to develop hospice enabled dementia care, she took up the Admiral Nurse post at Kirkwood last September.
Speaking at the launch event, Jacqueline said: “Dementia is now acknowledged as a life-limiting illness, but people with dementia are not referred to palliative care services often enough. This means that care is not always equitable, with many families living through a dementia diagnosis not being offered the same pain assessment and relief as people with other conditions.
“The priority for Kirkwood Hospice is to improve access to specialist care. One of the ways we will do this is by offering an open referral system, so that families, carers, friends and professionals can seek our support.
“We’ll also be working closely with healthcare professionals across Kirklees to provide an additional means of support for those living with advanced dementia at the end of life.”
Responding to the launch of the new service, Dr Hilda Hayo, Chief Admiral Nurse and CEO Dementia UK said: “Admiral Nurses are at the forefront of dementia care and we are delighted to be working collaboratively with Kirkwood Hospice and Kirklees Council.
“Jacqueline is the ninth Admiral Nurse in Kirklees and her wealth of knowledge and experience will complement the work of the well-established community Admiral Nurse team. Her expertise will make a real contribution to enhancing end of life care to local families affected by dementia.”
Cllr Viv Kendrick, Kirklees Council, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “I am delighted about this new initiative and am looking forward to working closely with both Kirkwood Hospice and Dementia UK.”