I’ve just heard confirmation that an Admiral Nurse (AN) service has closed in a West Midlands county. It’s been going and growing for two years, and now, before big V came along, funding has been withdrawn from their local Better Care Fund.
Otherwise known as money taken from social and health care to develop ‘better care’!
Controlled by? CCG and Council, or possibly an integrated care system (ICS).
I was contacted a couple of months ago by someone who was benefitting from the AN service there, and who had to put me right about expanding services. Theirs was closing.
Why do Admiral Nurses matter?
Because they provide the expertise in psychosocial care and support to keep families and care partners going through critically difficult times.
And no one else does.
They take over the myriad challenges that carers face, like having 20+ organisations and phone numbers for arranging care and getting advice.
Like helping those affected to understand what is going on and why.
They get things done! Yes, I said it. They get things done.
Dementia UK (who train Admiral Nurses) have collected evidence that shows that an Admiral Nurse service saves the local health economy around twice the cost of the service.
And that does not include the reduced mental ill health stress caused by crisis to dementia carers.
They help family members and they help neighbours and other friends who are providing support and care. (Don’t forget that 30% of people living with dementia live alone.)
I have heard many stories of abject, horrifying crisis for carers who get to the end of being able to cope.
And yet, and yet…
Admiral Nurses are not mandated as a service that all people affected by dementia should have access to.
CCGs choose whether to fund them. And whether to fund other services that support people affected by dementia.
They do this often not on the basis of cost benefit, or indeed compassion, but whether they can spare money from their historically commissioned services.
It is not my job to advise which services are good value for money. It’s theirs, the commissioners. And they are paid well to do it. No one forced them to take the job.
It is not my role to say that one service is more worthwhile than another. IVF? Transplants? Hip and knee operations? Steroid injections?
That is their job. So I ask…please will they do it.
I do not expect any progress with dementia care during the Big V, but we will come out of this phase, even if we have to live with Covid19 and vaccinate each year.
I do expect progress next year with providing good, appropriate care and support for the million people living with dementia, and the half million providing unpaid care.
This is a crisis. Just as much as the Big V is.
The Big V will recede. Dementia will not.
Don’t forget the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline…for anyone anywhere in UK
0800 888 6678