Heidi reflects on first year in post as Sid Valley’s Admiral Nurse

The Memory Cafe's Admiral Nurse Heidi Crook. Ref shs 10 18TI 9026. Picture: Terry Ife

The Memory Cafe's Admiral Nurse Heidi Crook. Ref shs 10 18TI 9026. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

It has been a busy 365 days for the Sid Valley’s first Admiral Nurse as she celebrates her first year in post helping families across the district affected by dementia.

Heidi Crook was appointed on March 9, 2017, after the community came together to support a £100,000 campaign launched by the Sid Valley Memory Café.

Over the course of 13 months, events were held to cover two years’ worth of funding for the first Admiral Nurse in Devon.

Recently, the memory café relaunched its fundraising efforts to keep the nurse in the valley.

In her role, Heidi works with the entire family of a person living with dementia to provide emotional and practical support.

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Throughout the year, she has supported more than 60 families in the area.

Heidi said: “The year has just flown by and it’s a privilege to work in a community which is so behind the Admiral Nursing role.

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“Everyone’s experience of dementia is of course different which is why the tailored support of an Admiral Nurse is so vital.

“Those affected by dementia need to have a space where they can speak openly, and in confidence, about their experiences to enable them to live with dementia more positively.

“As an Admiral Nurse, we provide that space through one-to-one emotional support, practical solutions and expert guidance.”

She hoped that in the next year, she would continue supporting more families in the area and that it was important to develop a link with the town’s GP surgery to ensure people were referred for support.

Heidi said: “With its beautiful scenery and peaceful way of living, a lot of people move to Sid Valley to retire.

“This often means that they don’t have the support of relatives nearby. I know that the spouses I work with are so grateful to have the support of an Admiral Nurse when there’s no one else living locally that they feel they can turn to.

“Providing support to the wider family is definitely an interesting part of the role but it can be challenging in terms of balancing different needs, especially when the wider family are dotted around the UK.

“I try and get face-to-face time with them whenever I can but I am contactable via phone or email whenever needed.

“It’s a great feeling to know that the impact of my work is felt in Sid Valley and beyond.”

If you would like to donate or fundraise for the Admiral Nurse campaign, email Adrian Ford at adrianpford@live.co.uk

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