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Specialist Dementia Nurses Support Carers with the most Complex Needs

Posted on 16 April 2019

Having contact with a nurse who understands dementia and has the time to get to know their situation could improve carers' confidence and help them to feel supported.

Admiral Nursing is the only nursing service that specifically focuses on supporting carers of people with dementia in the UK. Research carried out by the University of York found that Admiral Nurses are successfully targeting carers with the most complex needs. 

The research team, from York's Social Policy Research Unit (part of the Departmental of Social Policy and Social Work) and Centre for Health Economics, looked at information routinely collected by Dementia UK which showed that, on average, the needs of carers with an Admiral Nurse reduced over time. However, the data were not detailed enough to show what caused this improvement. In interviews and focus groups, carers themselves said that the sorts of support provided by Admiral Nurses could positively influence their health, quality of life and confidence in caring. 

The research team followed this up with a survey, completed by 346 current carers of people with dementia, which demonstrated the heavy burden that dementia carers carry, the low levels of support that they get from health and social care services and the financial impact on carers and their families when they have to pay for help. 

The study found that carers who used Admiral Nursing were older and more heavily involved in caring than those without an Admiral Nursing. Despite this, their quality of life was no worse that that of the younger, less involved carers not receiving Admiral Nursing support. Interestingly, despite the upfront investment in specialist nurses, when the researchers added in the costs of other health and social care services used by people with dementia and their carers, the costs to areas with and without Admiral Nursing were similar. 

The full report is available to download from the project webpage.