tackling health inequalities in Berkshire
West Berkshire Admiral Nurse is first for the region

Newly established Admiral Nurse service is also the first in the UK to specialise in supporting younger people with dementia and their family carers
 
An Admiral Nurse has been appointed for the West of Berkshire in a partnership betweenDementia UK, the national charity responsible for promoting and developing Admiral Nursing, and local charity Younger People with Dementia (Berkshire West) who support younger people with dementia in the Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham areas.
 
Funding for this appointment has been awarded by People’s Health Trust, using money raised by HealthConfirm through The Health Lottery.
 
People diagnosed with dementia under the age of 65 are often described as ‘younger people with dementia’ and there are currently over 17,000 people in the UK living with this condition.

This equates to around 240 people in the West of Berkshire who are known to local service providers but it is estimated that three times as many people are living undiagnosed and unsupported in the area.
 
Rikki Lorenti, an experienced mental health nurse from Oxford, has successfully been appointed as the first Admiral Nurse to cover Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire. Rikki is also the first Admiral Nurse in the country to specialise in supporting younger people with dementia and their family carers.  
 
Admiral Nurses are mental health nurses who specialise in dementia and have skills and knowledge to impart to family carers. Their aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of carers and enable families to understand the impact of dementia, manage everyday life in the best way possible, be supported with decisions as the condition progresses and plan for the future in a positive way.

Rikki Lorenti, the first Admiral Nurse for Berkshire, said: “While the symptoms of dementia in younger people may be the same as in older people, there can be particular adjustments and challenges faced by families affected by early onset dementia.
 
"This can include the loss of employment and significant financial hardships as well as emotional and psychological issues, as the family, which may still include dependent children, struggle to cope with the diagnosis.
 
"This is a unique and exciting role and I will be using my skills and expertise to provide specialist support and guidance to help these families to live well with dementia.”
 
Victoria Lyons, Dementia Pioneer at Dementia UK, said: “Rikki will be creating, shaping and piloting an exceptionally high standard local community service that will bridge the local health and social care system to provide better support for younger people with dementia and their family carers. This role will also help raise awareness and uncover people who are currently undiagnosed.
 
"We are delighted that this vital support service is now available. This is a very significant and positive step forward which will greatly benefit quality of life for younger people with dementia and their family carers in the local area.”
 
Peter Watson, Chairman of Trustees at Younger People with Dementia cares for his wife Brenda who was diagnosed with vascular dementia at the age of 59.

He said: “I care for my wife and I know first-hand how devastating a diagnosis of young onset dementia can be. You can experience feelings of grief and helplessness while also trying to cope with the pressures of balancing work and family life. This is only exacerbated by a lack of coordinated care and support and not knowing where to turn to for help.
 
Admiral Nurses are a lifeline and an invaluable source of contact and guidance for families. They understand the issues, provide practical and emotional support and advice and ensure that the needs of the families are met. At YPWD we work closely with local health and social services to fill the provision gap and are delighted also to be working with Dementia UK to bring this innovative service to Berkshire West.”
 
Chris Lunn, Director – HealthConfirm says: “It’s great that money raised by HealthConfirm is being put to such good use in our local community.”
 
The new Admiral Nurse service will launch on Monday 17 June. The service can be accessed through memory clinics initially and the community mental health teams, although carers can also self-refer through the YPWD website.

Money raised through the Health Lottery
The Health Lottery scheme manages 51 Society Lotteries that operate in rotation and each represents a different geographical region of Great Britain.
 
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