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Dementia specialist hails success of Admiral Nurse pilot in Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 18:45 19 May 2014 | UPDATED: 18:45 19 May 2014

Norfolk's first Admiral Nurse, Zena Aldridge. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norfolk's first Admiral Nurse, Zena Aldridge. Picture: Denise Bradley

copyright: Archant 2013

Norfolk’s first Admiral Nurse hailed the success of a pilot project, which has helped hundreds of families affected by dementia in the Breckland area.

Zena Aldridge, the county’s first specialist dementia nurse, began her job last April after Dementia UK and Age UK Norfolk received £60,000 from the People’s Health Trust to fund the two year project.

Her recruitment to cover seven GP practices in the Dereham, Watton, Shipdham, North Elmham, and Toftwood areas was followed by the hiring of two more Admiral Nurses by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services across the two counties.

Mrs Aldridge, who has worked as a mental health nurse for more than ten years, said the Admiral Nurses had received 230 referrals in the pilot area since the project started.

She added that the specialist nurses gave advice and information, psychological support, assessments of the needs of family carers, referral to treatment and support services and access to end of life care and bereavement support.

“It has been a phenomenal success. There is now some strategic work to see how we can take this forward and looking at the cost benefits and benefits to people with dementia and carers to roll it out further, if commissioners can put their hands in their pockets.”

“It is funded until April next year and we are looking to learn about what we have already achieved. You can not put a price tag on the wellbeing and support for carers.”

An estimated 12 more Admiral Nurses would help cover the whole of Norfolk, she added.

For more information, call 01603 785202. There is also a national Admiral Nurse phoneline at 0845 2579406 or email direct@dementiauk.org

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