Duchy Health Charity

Cornwall’s leading grant giving health charity for the promotion of health and wellbeing
and the prevention of sickness in Cornwall and The Isles of Scilly

Founders of healthcare and wellbeing related initiatives
can apply for grants to help reach their objectives
A picture of an Admiral Nurse supporting a family
Posted on 6 March 2024

Dementia UK - Admiral Nurses

Grant award: £16,000 backing for Cornwall Admiral Nurse service expansion

Helen Bosanko-Green has been an Admiral Nurse working in Dementia UK’s Cornwall service for a year. 

She grew up in Cornwall and first trained as a Nurse in 1990.  Thanks to support from Duchy Health Charity, Helen now works across West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly supporting carers of people living with a diagnosis of dementia.

Helen provided intensive support for several weeks for a gentleman who was caring for his wife with dementia.  The lady with dementia was in hospital, the family and patient were anxious that she was discharged home, however, discharge planning was complex; home visits were needed four times a day (the maximum available) and this was taking a long time to find. The family were referred to the Admiral Nurse service by the Community Psychiatric Nurse, who was concerned about the wellbeing of the husband because of the stress of his role as a carer for his wife, her complex care needs and the situation.

Helen provided support while the wife was in hospital and following discharge. The care package helped the husband, but they were not there to support him all the time – the couple had other family members who lived outside of Cornwall, and they wanted to help, but this was not possible full time.

The wife’s care needs were difficult physically for her husband, and she soon needed more nursing intervention. Helen spoke to him regularly during this time providing psychological and emotional support, reassuring him while he investigated other options for his wife’s care, such as live-in carers and care homes. The husband was worried about the financial implications which increased care provision might have, and was suffering guilt around breaking past promises, grief of losing memory making opportunities together, and a fear of loss. He again needed Helen’s Admiral Nursing specialist skills and therapeutic interventions for support and to guide him.

Soon after this, the wife’s health deteriorated further. Discussions regarding both their feelings and wishes were had with Helen, who then helped coordinate a discussion with the GP. Some of her treatments were changed as it was felt the palliative phase of illness had been reached. Helen continued to give the husband support, while his wife had input from other agencies including the palliative team, the community nursing team, and the GP. The lady passed away peacefully at home as she and her family had wished. Helen continued supporting the husband, and was able to provide bereavement counselling, future planning, and emotional acceptance of his recent loss.

In discharge conversations with Helen, the husband expressed the importance of the support which the Admiral Nurse Service provided during the hospital discharge planning process and then afterwards, to him, his wife and their family.

He told Helen that it was so important having someone there as a constant throughout, someone to speak to, who would know how to help, who listened, acknowledged and understood his feelings and needs, and who compassionately shared his journey. He was grateful for someone who was able to support him though this difficult time- a safety net that he could trust.

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