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New specialist dementia nurse for North Somerset hospital

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North Somerset has appointed a new Admiral nurse for Weston Area Health NHS Trust who will be based at Weston General Hospital.

Sarah Oakwood will help to ensure that people diagnosed with dementia, along with their carers and families, will have the best possible access to support following an admission to hospital.

“I’m immensely proud to be offered this important role within dementia care at the hospital2

Sarah Oakwood

The network of Admiral nurses, run by Dementia UK, provides specialist support to people with dementia, their carers and families, giving the one-to-one support, advice and expert guidance.

Ms Oakwood has joined the trust with over 20 years of experience in dementia care across a variety of roles.

She has previously led projects, developed new services and piloted new and innovative ways of working.

This has included dementia training services in partnership with social care in the community and older adults’ mental health liaison services within primary care and acute hospital trusts.

Having already worked in mental health liaison within Weston General Hospital, she already has an in-depth view of how this particular acute hospital service runs, noted the trust.

“Sarah will have an amazing impact on dementia care within the hospital and wider region”

Hilda Hayo

She said: “I’m immensely proud to be offered this important role within dementia care at the hospital.

“Becoming an Admiral nurse is something that I have been passionate about for a while, so I’m excited to see how this role will develop,” said Ms Oakwood.

“Dementia is a challenging condition and families often do not know where or who they can turn to,” she said. To be able to provide tailored emotional and practical support to families in situations like this is very heartening.”

Alongside supporting families, Ms Oakwood will be supporting best practice in dementia care among other healthcare professionals within the hospital.

She will be “pivotal” in ensuring that families are kept involved and informed following the person with dementia’s admission into hospital, noted the trust.

For example, this will include building up bases of support following discharge from hospital so that families can continue caring for the person with dementia.

Sarah Dodds, director of nursing at Weston Area Health, said: “The successful appointment of Sarah Oakwood as a full-time Admiral nurse at Weston General Hospital, delivered as a partnership with the charity Dementia UK, is a fantastic opportunity to take forward the care we give to patients with dementia as well as the vital support that can be offered to their carers.”

Dr Hilda Hayo, chief executive and chief Admiral nurse at Dementia UK, added: “We are seeing an increasing number of people with dementia being admitted into acute hospital settings.

Hilda Hayo

Hilda Hayo

Hilda Hayo

“It is vital that they have access to appropriate and robust pathways of care whilst they are in hospital and when they are discharged,” she said.

She added: “Sarah will have an amazing impact on dementia care within the hospital and wider region. A key part of her role will be supporting families to live as well as possible with dementia, and ensuring that the relevant health professionals are equipped with her fantastic breadth of dementia expertise and experience.”

Dementia UK currently has 249 Admiral nurses with 11 now working in acute hospital settings.

The service will be accessed via a referral system, and all referrals will be triaged by Ms Oakwood, so that families facing the most complex cases of dementia get the support they need in a timely way.

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