Kettering General Hospital has become one of the first hospitals in the country to appoint an Admiral nurse to work in its acute general hospital environment.
Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is working in partnership with the charity Dementia UK, which oversees the Admiral nursing service nationally.
Although employed by a number of community providers, only two other hospital trusts in the UK have adopted the Admiral nurse model of dementia care, said Dementia UK.
“My role will be to train and help staff to better understand patients with dementia”
The move forms part of an ongoing programme at Kettering to develop sensitive and exemplary care for patients over 65, known as AGE (Academy of Geratology Excellence).
Emma Smith, who has been appointed to the post, will carry out comprehensive assessments of need for patients with dementia, offer training and therapeutic approaches to staff and carers, and provide carers with skills and information.
She said: “My role will be to train and help staff to better understand patients with dementia and provide practical advice on how best we can look after them.
“One of my aims is to make the hospital more ‘dementia friendly’ so that we can minimise the stress and distress that some patients – and carers – can feel when they are put into a hospital environment, often at short notice,” she said. “This can include noise, lots of strangers being around, and being outside of their familiar environment and routines.”
Ms Smith added: “Often it is about creating a unique intervention that will help a particular individual to feel more relaxed and safe. This might involve getting to know an individual, what their likes and dislikes are, and understanding why some things upset them and then taking steps to minimise that.”
“We need to treat an increasing number of older people with complex conditions – including dementia”
Leanne Hackshall, the trust’s director of nursing and quality, said: “We have worked with Dementia UK to fund this post for Kettering General Hospital as part of our ongoing work with our AGE programme.
“We know that the ageing population in Northamptonshire is rising quite rapidly and that will mean we need to treat an increasing number of older people with complex conditions – including dementia,” she said. “The challenge for us is to develop services that will meet this need in an appropriate and caring way.
”We feel that the Admiral nurse role will help us to do this by focussing more attention on the appropriate good quality care of patients with dementia,” she added.
Hilda Hayo, chief Admiral nurse and chief executive of Dementia UK, said having Admiral nurses in an acute settings was “proven to not only improve the wellbeing of dementia patients, but to also reassure and increase the satisfaction of the carers”.