As a contribution to Dementia Awareness Week I ‘m submitting this short piece to Dementia UK for possible publication:
Admiral Nurses: Rescue Rangers
Any diagnosis of dementia for your loved one is frightening. When it’s vascular it’s terrifying as there is no treatment for this condition. When Maureen diagnosis moved from Mild Cognitive Impairment to Vascular Dementia a discharge from our Memory Service followed, along with information about groups and organisations that might be able to help.
I think it was just by chance I heard about Admiral Nurses during a meeting of the Patient Participation Group at our Medical Centre. Someone I respected was singing their praises and gave me some contact numbers. Three years and one Admiral Nurse later I’m indebted to my colleague from our PPG.
I’m sure like most Care Partners I’m often in despair, completely at a loss to try to understand my wife’s presentation. On other occasions, I’m not sure what to do when nothing I try seems to shift my wife from an unattainable focus: ‘I want to go home to live with my parents’ – (who have long since passed).
I’m demanding by nature and our Admiral Nurses are frequently overloaded with my requests for support and advice. Mel and I are now scheduled to meet every fortnight as I attempt to cope with the progression of my wife’s condition. I also forward my daily Blog or telephone Mel when the going gets tough: it would be unusual if there isn’t a reply within hours.
IMHO Admiral Nurses should be available throughout the country. I certainly would not cope with the expertise that is always available despite workloads that are probably exceed anything a professional would be expected to undertake.
I’m catching up with a member of staff from Navigo in an hour. Five years ago as the Manager of an Acute Psychiatric Unit, she advised me to ask my Psychiatrist for Day Release. Returning home for a day was a significant step in my recovery from recurrent depression. Forgoing basking in the Spa and Sauna for a glass of water is a small price to pay for an opportunity to thank her for that advice!