Admiral nursing

Please note this service is only available to people living with dementia who are current inpatients at St James’s University Hospital Leeds or Leeds General Infirmary.

Admiral Nurses, left: Rachel Conway. right: Debbie Foster.

Admiral Nurses left: Rachel Conway right: Debbie Foster.

Living with dementia can be challenging and confusing. The person with the diagnosis might be worried about what they may have to face in the future. And the people around them might be unsure how best to support them and where to turn for help.

In conjunction with Dementia UK, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, a small team is available at St James’s University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary who are dedicated to helping families face dementia with support.

Our current team of Admiral Nurses offer appointments for people who care for someone with dementia who has complex needs.

Debbie Foster, one of our Admiral Nurses, said: “It is very exciting that Leeds hospitals will finally have an Admiral Nurse service – it will make such a difference to not only the staff at St James’s by supporting their practice, but to as many people living with dementia and their carers that we can physically reach!”

Admiral Nurses

Admiral Nurses are specialist dementia nurses who are supported and developed by Dementia UK. They provide life-changing support for families affected by all kinds of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. They help to prevent or manage complex issues.

They can give tailored health advice and emotional support and help build links with other health and care professionals. For many families, they can be a lifeline.

Admiral Nurse service appointments and visits give families affected by dementia the opportunity to seek specialist advice, support and clinical guidance, in confidence.

Our current team of Admiral Nurses offer appointments for people who care for someone with dementia who has complex needs.

Specialist Admiral Nurses have the skills, knowledge and experience to talk about:

  • practical tips and advice on caring for a loved one with dementia
  • coping strategies for families who are finding caring difficult
  • feelings of loss and grief
  • work/life balance when caring for someone
  • coping with complex issues such as false beliefs, distressed behaviour, and family conflict
  • managing changes in personality and behaviour
  • strategies to improve the carer’s mental and physical wellbeing
  • signposting to other local and national dementia support services
  • planning for the future and decision-making
  • transition into a nursing or residential home
  • support during and after a stay in hospital
  • identifying risk and keeping the person with dementia safe

This list is by no means exhaustive. Every family living with dementia has its own unique circumstances. Admiral Nurses take the time to truly listen to each family’s situation, and suggest methods to deal with symptoms and coping strategies for the challenges dementia can bring.

Patient information leaflet – Admiral Nurses

Who can access this service?

The service is available to carers of people with dementia who are experiencing complex needs (see below for examples).

Carers of a person living with dementia can refer themselves to the Admiral Nurse service by email, or can be referred by their GP or another health or social care professional working in dementia care and support – for example, a member of the multi-disciplinary team (MDT) involved in their care.

What are complex needs?

Every family has its own experience of dementia, but here are some examples of complex needs:

  • The person with dementia has been admitted to hospital in the past six months
  • The person is at high risk of needing to go into hospital because of their dementia
  • The carer is struggling to understand the diagnosis of dementia and how it affects the person
  • The carer is under significant stress and at risk of a breakdown
  • The carer needs support with managing challenging behaviour in the person with dementia
  • The family needs support with Advance Care Planning
  • The person with dementia and their carer disagree about the person’s care and treatment
  • The person with dementia is approaching the end of life
Referrals - for professional use

The person must have either a confirmed diagnosis of dementia or a highly likely diagnosis and meet one or more of the following referral criteria:

  • significant difficulty for the person with dementia and/or their carer in accepting the diagnosis, which may result in psychological stress and affect their wellbeing
  • significant other physical or mental health conditions in the carer or the person with dementia, leading to the needs of the carer or person with dementia not being met
  • pre-existing or newly diagnosed mental health conditions which are being exacerbated by the caring role changes in behavioural and psychological symptoms in the person with dementia, resulting in agitation, disinhibition and anxiety
  • complex family dynamics affected by the diagnosis
  • need for Advance Care Planning (making plans for future care and treatment)

Referral form

Download a copy of the Referral form – Admiral Nursing March 2023 (for professional use).

Email the completed form to

What to do if you don’t meet the referral criteria

If you are unsure whether you meet the referral criteria, please contact 

You may be able to access support from the Hospital Carer Support Workers who are based on Level 8 Gledhow Wing at St James’s Hospital.   Wed- Fri
Tel: 07854 481024  Mon-Wed
Tel: 07572 746850

Or contact the Carers Leeds advice line 0113 380 4300

The hospital support workers can offer:

  • Support for carers through admission and discharge processes
  • Dementia carers support and someone to talk to you if you are feeling worried
  • Help to complete benefit forms and phone support
  • Referrals to Carers Leeds services in the community
  • Information about getting a break from caring
  • Information on funding for care homes and care packages

Please be aware that as your needs and the needs of the person you care for change, you may become eligible for the service. In this case, please contact your GP again or get in touch with the Admiral Nurse service.

Contact the team

If you or the person you care for would like more advice about the St James’s University Hospital or Leeds General Infirmary Admiral Nurse service, including whether you meet the referral criteria, please email

Rachel Conway (St James’s base)

Tel: 07977 327535

Mon-Fri 8am-4pm

Download the St James Admiral Nursing poster.

Debbie Foster (LGI base)

Tel: 07980 959513

Mon-Fri 8am-4pm

Download the LGI Admiral Nursing poster.

If we are unable to support you at this time, we can signpost you to other local and national dementia support services that may be able to help.

Dementia UK support

If you have questions or concerns about dementia, you can also speak to an Admiral Nurse on Dementia UK’s national Helpline. Call 0800 888 6678 or email

The Helpline is open seven days a week, Monday-Friday 9am-9pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am-5pm.

Alternatively, you can visit to book a phone or video appointment with an Admiral Nurse at a time that suits you.

You can also find advice and information about dementia, symptoms and coping strategies at along with a wide range of information leaflets


How to find us?