A specialist dementia nurse who has served Kenilworth’s residents for more than a year is in danger of leaving if a new source of funding cannot be found.
Louise Gillard-Owen has been working as an Admiral Nurse in the town since early 2016, when Waverley Day Centre were able to fund her services for two years.
Based at the centre, Louise provides practical and emotional support to families and carers with relatives and loved ones living with dementia. So far she has helped 69 families in Kenilworth.
But the £24,000 a year needed to pay for the service runs out in January 2018, and the centre’s trustees are concerned about the future of the service.
Louise said: “There had never been an Admiral Nurse in Kenilworth before, so it was a really big step for Waverley to put up the money for two years to begin with. The hope was people or organisations would match-fund or take the funding up themselves after that.
“It would be a real shame given what we’ve achieved over the last year if we were to finish in 2018.
“The personal messages I’ve had would suggest it’s really important for families here.”
For patients and families to see Louise, they must first be referred to her, although this can be done by the family themselves instead of having to go through a GP.
Louise then visits the family or carer in their home and assesses their particular needs as every case is slightly different.
Depending on the severity of the patient’s dementia and the effect it is having on their family or carer, she suggests certain options for them to improve their quality of life and to prevent the patient from needing to either go into a care home or hospital.
For example, a particular carer might be suffering from stress-related anxiety due to their relative’s condition. Louise would then suggest new coping strategies to help deal with the stress, and would check on the carer some time later to see if things have improved.
It is estimated Louise’s services save nearby hospitals and social care providers thousands of pounds each year, as families and carers are able to help their loved ones with dementia while they stay at home instead of relying on the health service to do it.
Louise said she was ‘hopeful’ the funding issues would be sorted out before January.
She thought it was likely the service would be funded in the future by several organisations contributing a little bit each, but said it would be even better if one organisation was able to fund the service fully.
She added: “We need an organisation to see the value of the service, not just the cost, but the value to the local population in that their quality of life is made better, and that they are supported to stay independent for as long as possible.”
Anyone wishing to talk to Waverley Day Centre about the funding situation should call the centre on 01926 852365.
And anyone in need of Louise’s help should call her on 07521 024787.