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The Hospice of St Francis appoints dedicated dementia nurse

30 March 2016
  • Specialist dementia nurse Janet Willoughby started work earlier this month

The Hospice of St Francis in Berkhamsted has appointed a dedicated nurse to help improve end of life care for people with dementia in the local area.

Janet Willoughby, who has extensive experience working with older people with complex illnesses and was previously an educator at the hospice, has been appointed to the new post.

In her new role, Janet will work with care homes across the hospice's catchment area to enable them to deliver excellent end of life care to residents with dementia. She will also share her learnings and knowledge with the hospice's clinical team, enabling it, in turn, to provide better care for people on its inpatient unit.

The new post – which has been funded by the Hospice UK St James’s Place Foundation grant programme – is part of the hospice's wider dementia strategy to better understand dementia and help its colleagues in care homes and mental health caring for people diagnosed with the condition.

"We know that as our population ages and lives longer, the number of people with a loss of memory function will increase, which will present challenges for the clinicians who treat them,” explained Clare Hearnshaw, director of clinical care at The Hospice of St Francis.

"This is about pooling our skills and knowledge and learning from each other. It can be hard to recognise when people with dementia are dying, and caring for people with advanced dementia at the end of their lives is not always straightforward, especially as they often also have highly complex care needs.

"Caring for the loved ones of people with dementia also requires exceptional skill and compassion as families experience the continual, gradual loss of the person they know and love."

Hospice CEO Steve Jamieson added: "We want to be sure that as we look to the future, our hospice is well informed and able to offer comprehensive end of life care and support for patients facing life-limiting illnesses as well as dementia.

"Janet, as our new dementia nurse, has a proven track record of working with dementia patients through her work in care homes and we’re excited to have her on board in this new role."

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