Three clinical commissioning groups are to invest in expanding dementia services in Norfolk after a successful scheme using specialist nurses to prevent unnecessary admissions and support carers.
The move follows a two-year pilot of an Admiral nurse service, led by the charity Dementia UK in partnership with Age UK Norfolk and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
An evaluation of the pilot showed it saved over £440,000 in its first 10 months, reduced families’ need for contact time with other health professionals, and avoided unnecessary admissions and care home costs.
The success of the pilot has led to the commissioning of a range of new services across the county.
South Norfolk CCG will be funding an Admiral nurse consultant and two Admiral nurses, and Norwich CCG will be funding an Admiral nurse consultant.
“The success of the pilot service shows the impact that the Admiral nurse intervention had in giving families the tools to live positively with dementia”
Age UK has provided funding for two dementia wellbeing coordinators for South Norfolk, and West Norfolk CCG will be expanding their dementia services, with more post-diagnostic support including Admiral nursing, dementia advisers and dementia support workers.
The project was set up after Dementia UK approached Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Age UK Norfolk.
A cost/benefit analysis estimated that the pilot resulted in direct savings of over £443,593 from June 2013 to April 2014.
The evaluation also showed that Admiral nurses improved carers’ mental health and increased their “ability to carry on”.
In addition, 94% of health and social care professionals surveyed said contact with the Admiral nurse service had increased their confidence in dealing with dementia patients and their carers.
Hilda Hayo, chief Admiral nurse at Dementia UK, said: “The success of the pilot service shows the impact that the Admiral nurse intervention had in giving families the tools to live positively with dementia, as well as the huge financial savings for health and social care in the area.”
Debbie White, director of operations for Norfolk and Waveney at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said she was “delighted” that CCGs in Norfolk had agreed to commission the service, which had “made a great difference” to people with dementia and their families.