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Lifeline for Cornish Carers
2:11pm 21st March 2014
Carers who look after people with dementia are thrown a lifeline.
New admiral nurses are working in Cornwall for the first time to help support families.
Pirate FM has learnt they have already had more than a hundred referrals.
Cornwall Care and Dementia UK are working together on the project.
They say the majority have been caring for people with dementia at home and some have been supported into full time nursing care.
Occasionally there are those who have reached crisis point.
Carer Ursula said it was a huge shock when her husband Ron was diagnosed but Admiral Nurse Loraine is someone she trusts: "It was my choice to have Ron return home with me after a short time in a very good care home. I was worried when he was in the care home that photographs of his family around the room may be hurtful or upset Ron but Loraine encouraged me to show pictures and start conversations with photographs because it will be a positive experience for him."
Ursula added: "Ron does often get confused about what is happening on the day but he remembers well what happened in the past. I have learnt from Loraine that restlessness indicates that he is actually rather tired; that it is very important to drink plenty of water and how to react to some of the behaviour typical of vascular dementia. Her experience with this type of illness has really helped me to cope better, to keep calm, to speak up and to share my worries and feelings."
Loraine explained: "A large part of our role is to help families understand about dementia and how it is affecting their loved one so they develop their skills and confidence in their caring role. It may be finding ways to help reduce distress the person with dementia may be experiencing. We promote wellbeing for the person with dementia and the family carer with the offer of emotional support with any feelings of grief and loss as the illness progresses and their relationship may begin to change.
"A common issue is often related to communication because often as dementia progresses, people experience difficulties with language and expressing themselves. We can support the family to develop different communication techniques to try to maintain effective communication and a connection with the person being cared for. We also guide families through the options and services available to help them so they have a network around them so they can continue in their caring role for as long as they wish to."
Cornwall Care's chief executive Douglas Webb said: "Our Admiral Nurse Service, in partnership with Dementia UK, will make a significant contribution to best quality dementia care in the county. It is essential when carers and families are looking after a relative with dementia that they know their own health and wellbeing is a priority and they are not alone.
"By being supported and being informed through the Admiral Nurses service we hope this will help alleviate worry and stress for carers and families."
Hilda Hayo, Chief Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK, said: "We're so grateful for the incredible support we've received from across the county, which helped facilitate this successful partnership with Cornwall Care and introduce this much needed service to Cornwall.
"Admiral Nurses uniquely bridge the health and social care gap, and the practical and emotional support that they provide to family carers is unmatched by any other dementia service. We're delighted that Cornwall now has access to Admiral Nursing and that work in the area is already so strong."
Chair of Dementia UK Cornwall Lisa Dann said: "I am delighted that within a year we have helped make the dream of Admiral Nurses in Cornwall become a reality. We have done this by raising over £60,000 - funded through the generosity of the people of Cornwall who supported our fundraising efforts as well as personal contributions.
"It is wonderful to see the new partnership between Cornwall Care and Dementia UK. This is just the start and our group will continue to raise the funds to support the growth of the Admiral Nurse network and the helpline to ensure that this vital lifeline is available to anyone in the county."
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