MacIntyre Charity - Learning Disabilities Admiral Nursing in a Pandemic

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What was your response to Covid-19?

MacIntyre has teamed up with Dementia UK to host the first ever Learning Disabilities Admiral Nurse to further enhance support for people with learning disabilities and dementia and their wider circle of support, which includes friends and family members, within MacIntyre services. 

The Learning Disabilities Admiral Nurse started in post during the pandemic, and whilst this post was not started as a result of the pandemic one of the first tasks was working out how the role would operate and function during COVID.

The role is designed to provide expert support and guidance to people supported by MacIntyre who have a diagnosis of dementia, or a suspected diagnosis. Engaging with their families/carers and those in their circle of support is also a large part of the role, as is sharing best practice, providing training, information webinars and engaging in cross-team consultancy.

Due to COVID-19, the Learning Disabilities Admiral Nurse has not been able to go out to meet people in person, however at the moment it's about getting creative. This means a lot of Zoom/Teams meetings, speaking to the people we support and their teams, finding out what stage of dementia the person is at, learning about the person’s life-story and supporting them to maintain their independence for as long as possible.

What was different about this approach?

There has never been an Admiral Nurse that focuses purely on people with a learning disability, therefore the whole role is different in its approach. The nurse has adapted her role during Covid-19 to maintain support via virtual platforms and continues to cover any area within England and Wales that needs her support within MacIntyre. This includes completing a holistic needs assessment, helping to educate people on dementia, advising what to look for and providing links to relevant professionals.

What is the impact and benefit for people?

The aims of this role are to improve outcomes, reduce health inequalities and optimise the support for people with a learning disability and dementia and their families/carers. This is done by delivering and championing person-centred and relationship-centred dementia care, and by sharing best practice with staff across MacIntyre.

Through providing essential exposure and education on the topic, we also aim to ensure that people with a learning disability can obtain an earlier diagnosis of dementia, and receive the support that they need.  It marks an important practical step to tackling the health inequalities that people with learning disabilities face. 

 

 

Is the solution sustainable post-Covid?

Absolutely! This is just the beginning of the journey. Raising the profile of people with a learning disability and a diagnosis of dementia is an important part of the project. This is in addition to keeping people connected and up to date with best practice in dementia care and offering bespoke support; increasing networking for families, carers and people supported; and increasing the skills and knowledge of MacIntyre staff and the people they support to improve health outcomes.

Covid-19 has taught us another way of connecting effectively with people so virtual interactions are definitely here to stay and in the future MacIntyre’s Learning Disabilities Admiral Nurse will use a combination of both virtual and face to face support methods to those who need it the most!

How can I find out more?

 https://www.macintyrecharity.org/our-expertise/dementia/

https://www.macintyrecharity.org/

https://www.dementiauk.org/get-support/maintaining-health-in-dementia/learning-disability-and-dementia/

If you are interested in setting up a post similar to this post within your organisation please contact Victoria.lyons@dementiauk.org

Victoria is the Senior Consultant Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK and is the nurse who set up and developed this post and partnership.

Dementia UK provides specialist dementia support for families through our Admiral Nurse Service. When things get challenging or difficult for people with dementia and their families, Admiral Nurses work alongside them, giving the compassionate one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions that can be difficult to find elsewhere. They are a lifeline - helping families to live more positively with dementia in the present, and to face the challenges of tomorrow with more confidence and less fear.