Community care village operator Belong, which has a location on Lower Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, has enhanced its dementia care provision with the appointment of Bridget Lawler as Admiral Nurse to support residents and customers who have been medically diagnosed with any form of dementia.
The specialist mental health nursing role is provided for free across all Belong villages through the organisation’s ongoing partnership with Dementia UK.
As well as customers, Bridget will provide tailored support for their family members and carers, and advise Belong colleagues on best practice in dementia care.
She assumes the role after eight years as Practice Development Facilitator (PDF) at Belong Atherton, where she was responsible for identifying opportunities for improvement and development to drive standards of care at the village. She also developed a unique insight into life for people living with dementia and how best to support them.
Bridget said: “Over the years I have gained so much knowledge about dementia that I truly feel I can make a difference to people’s lives. I have learnt that often people will not remember what you said or did, but they will remember how you made them feel. That is to say that the human element of the role is just as important as the clinical aspect. This is the essence of my involvement with people living with dementia, their family and support network.”
Originally from Zambia, Bridget moved to South Africa when she was eight years old and qualified as a registered nurse and midwife before working in various roles in hospitals and the community and managing a youth health centre providing health and family planning information and support.
In 1991, she began teaching student nurses before completing a diploma in nursing education and primary healthcare in 1993 and going on to graduate from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University with a degree in nursing sciences education and administration in 1996.
She took on the role of Registered Manager at a nursing home in Eccles after emigrating to the UK 12 years ago before becoming PDF at Belong Atherton four years later.
On Bridget’s suitability for the role, Stacey McCann, Chief Operating Officer at Belong, said: “Her distinguished career as a nurse combined with her significant care sector experience, including promoting best practice in dementia care and track record of service for Belong, make her an ideal Admiral Nurse. She is an invaluable asset to the organisation, and we look forward to seeing her develop in her new role.”
Working collaboratively with other professionals, Admiral Nurses seek to improve the quality of life for people affected by dementia, helping them to live positively with the condition and develop skills to improve communication and maintain relationships.
Dementia UK, a charity that works in partnership with NHS providers and commissioners, social care authorities and voluntary sector organisations, is responsible for upholding the standards of Admiral Nurses nationwide, and supports the work of Admiral Nurses at Belong villages.