An evaluation of the role of the Admiral Nurse: a systematic evidence synthesis to inform service delivery and research

Project: Research

Project Details


Specialist nurses are one way of providing support for family carers of
people with dementia, but relatively little is known about what these
roles achieve, or if they are more effective than roles that do not require a
clinical qualification. The aim of this review was to synthesise the
literature on the scope and effectiveness of specialist nurses, known as
Admiral Nurses, and set this evidence in the context of other community based
initiatives to support family carers of people with dementia. We
undertook a systematic review of the literature relating to the scope and
effectiveness of Admiral Nurses and a review of reviews of interventions
to support the family carers of people with dementia. To identify studies,
we searched electronic databases, undertook lateral searches and
contacted experts. Searches were undertaken in November 2012. Results
are reported narratively with key themes relating to Admiral Nurses
identified using thematic synthesis. We included 33 items relating to
Admiral Nurses (10 classified as research) and 11 reviews evaluating
community-based support for carers of people with dementia. There has
been little work to evaluate specific interventions provided by Admiral
Nurses, but three overarching thematic categories were identified:
(i) relational support, (ii) co-ordinating and personalising support and
(iii) challenges and threats to the provision of services by Admiral
Nurses. There was an absence of clearly articulated goals and service
delivery was subject to needs of the host organisation and the local area.
The reviews of community-based support for carers of people with
dementia included 155 studies but, in general, evidence that interventions
reduced caregiver depression or burden was weak, although psychosocial
and educational interventions may reduce depression in carers.
Community support for carers of people with dementia, such as that
provided by Admiral Nurses, is valued by family carers, but the impact
of such initiatives is not clearly established.
Effective start/end date1/09/1230/04/13


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