MacIntyre, a national charity supporting people with learning disabilities and/or autism, has announced the appointment of the UK’s first Learning Disability Admiral Nurse.
In her new role, Jane Nickels will support people with learning disabilities who have a diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of dementia.
MacIntyre announced the appointment in partnership with Dementia UK, a charity that supports families facing dementia through specialist Admiral Nurses.
It said people with learning disabilities, particularly those with Down Syndrome, have an increased risk of developing dementia compared with the rest of the population.
Yet achieving a timely diagnosis of dementia for people with a learning disability can be challenging, as changes in behaviour is often attributed to their learning disability.
With 28 years in the care sector, covering both learning disabilities and dementia, Nickels will be speaking to people supported by MacIntyre and its teams, finding out where on the ‘dementia pathway’ they might be, learning about the person’s life story and supporting them to maintain their independence for as long as possible.
Speaking about her new role, Nickels said: “It’s a national role, so I will be covering any area that needs me to help with assessments, to help educate people on dementia, help people to know what to look for and provide a link to relevant professionals too.”
MacIntyre was awarded a government grant in 2016, enabling it to create a range of learning and multi-media information resources to improve the support and care for people with learning disabilities who have dementia or are at risk of developing dementia, through the MacIntyre Dementia Project.
The project came to a close in 2018, but the charity continues to provide exposure and education on learning disabilities and dementia to ensure that people with a learning disability can obtain an earlier diagnosis of dementia.
“I know how much of a success the MacIntyre Dementia Project was and the legacy that continues. I feel really honoured and proud to support this new chapter,” said Nickels.