Dementia UK

Dementia UK is a national charity that seeks to improve the quality of life for all people affected by dementia. Dementia UK is responsible for Admiral Nurses, specialist mental health nurses working in communities, hospitals and care homes.

10 February 2016
Care, Health, Hospitals and Hospital Trusts, Local Authorities

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Dementia UK aims to improve the quality of life for families living with the effects of dementia through Admiral Nurses (specialist dementia nurses) who work closely with families living with the effects of dementia. They provide psychological support, expert advice and information to help families understand and deal with their thoughts, feelings and behaviour and to adapt to the changing situation. Admiral Nurses seek to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia and their families by using a range of interventions to help people live positively with the condition and to develop skills to improve communication and maintain relationships. Admiral Nurses also uniquely join up different parts of the health and social care system and enable the needs of family carers and people with dementia to be addressed in a coordinated way. They provide consultancy and education to professionals to model best practice and improve dementia care in a variety of care settings.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

There are currently only 130 Admiral Nurses in the UK and this leads to a postcode effect with families not getting the specialist advice and support at a time when they need it. As NHS Trusts are finding their funding decreasing in real terms this has caused long established Admiral Nurse Teams to be reduced in number due to cost saving measures and none replacement when a nurse retires or leaves the service. Dementia UK is committed to meeting the National Dementia Declaration and will continue to develop Admiral Nurse posts in a range of settings to ensure families living with dementia get the specialist advice and support they deserve.

Member website

2. Actions

  • Increasing the numbers of Admiral Nurses throughout the UK.

    The charity's plan for the next four years, in relation to Admiral Nursing, entails:

    Continuing to promote and resource the establishment of Admiral Nurse posts, negotiating with health and social care commissioners, identifying appropriate provider 'hosts', levering investment and articulating the business benefits of the model. 

    Diversifying and developing variations to the model, to address specific and specialist needs for example:

    end of life care- including partnership working with hospices; primary care approaches- to improve identification, uptake and early stage interventionsacute hospital consultancy- to improve outcomes for people with dementia following admission and on dischargedeveloping and expanding the independent care provider model of Admiral Nursing supporting families with the transition from community into long-term care placement. 

    Linking with academic bodies, providing practice support and development for existing Admiral Nurses and offering educational pathways for aspiring nurses; strengthening the evidence base that underpins Admiral Nursing and building research capacity. Offering leadership by engaging Admiral Nurses in practice in the field in leadership initiatives.

    Broadening the scope and building capacity in Admiral Nursing DIRECT. This nurse-led helpline offers skilled advice and expertise for family carers and people with dementia, and clinical consultancy for professionals. 

    Supporting the work of 'Special Interest Groups' exploring the issues, and the potential of Admiral Nurse roles, in relation to the needs of under-provided for client groups, or developing specific clinical approaches. Current special interest groups include:

    Palliative and End-of-Life careCulture and Ethnicityfamily-centred interventionscare homes.

    Dementia UK would seek to establish further special interest groups to explore additional subject areas such as  learning disability and young onset dementia.

    Building the evidence base for Admiral Nursing by active engagment in audit, evaluation and research.


    2015 - Second Quarter Update

    The number of Admiral Nurse posts have increased to 140 in post (from 130 in 2014) and an additional 24 posts in development. We now have 2 Admiral Nurses in Scotland, the first time in 25 years! We also have posts in development in Wales.

    The Admiral Nurse Competency Framework is due to be revised and an announcement will take place soon regarding which organisation has been successful in their tender for this piece of work.

    The Admiral Nurse service evalauations are being completed on an ongoing basis and clear evidence is being gathered about the effectiveness of the Admiral Nurse role. The Admiral DIRECT service research has now been completed by Loughborough University and we await the full report but the preliminary findings that have been shared have been very positive.

    2014 - Second Quarter Update

    The number of Admiral Nurses have increased from 112 in the 1st Quarter of 2014 to 130 in the second quarter of 2014. Dementia UK continues to work with potential hosts to develop Admiral Nurses throughout the UK to reduce the post code lottery for access to specialist dementia nurse support.

    Further work has commenced on revising the Admiral Nurse Competency F ramework to ensure the Admiral Nurses are practising at an advanced level.

    Admiral Nurse service evaluation is being completed in identified areas. The evaluations have so far revealed that as well as being positively evaluated by families who use the service and giving clear evidence of effectiveness there is also compelling evidence of the cost savings to health and social care services.

    The developing relationships with higher education institutions are beginning to show benefits in the areas of research and practice and professional development of Admiral Nurses.