New Dementia UK service.

New Dementia UK service for families based in East Sussex

In a first for Eastbourne, dementia specialist Admiral Nurse, Gary Burnham-Jones will be leading a clinics-based service for families in the area affected by the condition. The service is a partnership between national charity Dementia UK and Victoria Medical Centre Primary Care Network in East Sussex. It is one of the first clinics in the country to support families in the community. Gary 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.

The clinics are a new Dementia UK service provided by a local Admiral Nurse based in GP surgeries. Each of the Admiral Nurses 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. 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.

Gary has over 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. His previous role was as Dementia Care Lead for East Sussex Healthcare.

Commenting on his role, Gary said: “I’m so proud to be coordinating this new dementia service within East Sussex, an area which has a high number of people living with dementia. People affected by dementia can feel overwhelmed by the significant change in daily life which can result following a diagnosis. They may also not know who to turn to in a system which sees dementia fall between health and social care. That’s why having a dementia specialist in an area is so crucial, so families can manage the emotional and practical challenges of a diagnosis.” ​

Paul Edwards, Director of Clinical Services at Dementia UK, 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 Victoria Medical Centre Primary Care Network, primary care staff such as GPs, community pharmacists and social prescribers will be identifying carers with complex needs. From there, carers can then self-refer to the service. Gary 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 and Edinburgh.

Dementia UK would like to thank East Sussex fundraisers for their support in creating this post.

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.

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