New dementia service for families set up in Eastbourne

In a first for Eastbourne, a dementia specialist admiral nurse is leading a clinics-based service for families in the area affected by the condition.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 2:51 pm
Updated Monday, 10th May 2021, 1:25 pm

The service is a partnership between national charity Dementia UK and the Eastbourne central - Victoria Medical Centre primary care network.

The service is available to carers registered with Enys Road Surgery, Green Street Clinic, Bolton Road Surgery and Eastbourne Station Health Centre.

It is one of the first clinics in the country to support families in the community and dementia specialist nurse Gary Burnham-Jones will also be advising healthcare professionals around best practice in dementia care, such as the need to provide tailored information and support across families’ experiences of the condition.

Eastbourne seafront SUS-210324-130110001

The clinics are a new Dementia UK service provided by local admiral nurses based in GP surgeries.

According to Dementia UK, an admiral nurse is someone with experience in dementia care who works with families and other dementia care providers, sharing their knowledge, support and skills.

Each of the admiral nurses also has expert knowledge of the local services and how they can be accessed.

Dementia UK is the only charity dedicated to supporting people with dementia and their families through their dementia specialist admiral nurses.

Gary Burnham-Jones. SUS-210705-124132001

When things get challenging or difficult for people with dementia and their families, admiral nurses work alongside them; giving compassionate one-to-one support, expert guidance and practical solutions which can be hard to find elsewhere.

Mr Burnham-Jones has more than 25 years’ experience working with people with dementia and their carers in a wide range of settings including in hospitals, memory services and the community with his previous role as dementia care lead for East Sussex Healthcare.

Talking about his role, Mr Burnham-Jones said, “I’m proud to be developing this new clinic service within East Sussex, an area which has a much higher than average number of people living with dementia.

“Families living with the condition can feel overwhelmed by the significant changes and impact it can bring to daily life.

“They may not know who to turn to in a system which can see dementia fall between health and social care. That’s why having a dementia specialist service in this area is so crucial, to provide expert support so families can manage the emotional and practical challenges of living with dementia.”

Director of clinical services at Dementia UK Paul Edwards said, “We are delighted to have a dementia specialist as passionate as Gary joining our new cohort of clinics-based admiral nurses.

“The pandemic has placed extreme pressures on families with dementia; support services have closed down and families have been left not knowing where or who to turn to.

“With his in-depth knowledge of the local health and social systems and empathy for the challenges which families with the condition face, Gary will provide that direction and support which so many family carers need.”

Within the Eastbourne central - Victoria Medical Centre primary care network, primary care staff such as GPs, nurses and social prescribers will be identifying carers with complex needs.

Carers will be given the clinic contact details and can then self-refer to the service.

Mr Burnham-Jones will be offering telephone and video appointments in line with the current guidance around Covid-19, and face to face appointments once restrictions lift.

The other clinics services which have been created are in Staffordshire, Chesterfield, Edinburgh and Nottingham.

For any other carers who are unable to self-refer but reside in the area, the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline will also be available Monday to Friday 9am-9pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm on 0800 888 6678.

Carers can self-refer by phone at 01323 407 837, or by email: [email protected]