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Hope: a tool for working with families affected by dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 July 2023

Amy Pepper*
Affiliation:
Admiral nurse research assistant with the Research and Publications Team of Dementia UK, London, UK. Since qualifying as a mental health nurse in 2008 she has worked in various settings specialising in supporting families living with dementia. In 2014 she developed and led the Admiral Nursing Service in the London borough of Sutton, carrying out an evaluation of the role that led to an increase in funding and expansion of the team.
Zena Aldridge
Affiliation:
Admiral nurse research fellow with Dementia UK, London, UK, a dementia nurse consultant with Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, Norwich, UK, Regional Advisor (Dementia) for NHS Improvement and NHS England, London, UK, and a PhD student at de Montfort University, Leicester, UK. She has worked in health and social care for nearly 30 years, qualifying as a registered mental health nurse in 2003 and completing an MA in mental health in 2012. She became an Admiral nurse in 2013 and joined Dementia UK in 2016 as a service evaluator and senior consultant Admiral nurse before taking up her current post.
Karen Harrison Dening
Affiliation:
Head of Research and Publications for Admiral Nursing and Dementia UK, London, UK and Professor of Dementia Nursing at de Montfort University, Leicester, UK. She has over 45 years’ experience in nursing, mostly in dementia care. For the past 15 years, she has worked with Dementia UK, initially as a consultant Admiral nurse, then the Director of Admiral Nursing before taking up her current post. She gained a PhD at University College London, London, UK focusing on advance care planning and end-of-life care in dementia. She has several honorary academic positions, one being an associate professor at the University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK.
*
Correspondence Amy Pepper. Email: amy.pepper@dementiauk.org

Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased the challenges faced by families affected by dementia, leading to an immediate increase in both the number of calls received by Dementia UK's Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline and the levels of distress and complexity of the calls. Consequently, Admiral nurses experienced feelings of helplessness, echoed in the experiences of other health professionals. One of the approaches that enabled Admiral nurses to cope during this time was ‘hope’, and this article explores the use of hope-based approaches as tools for working therapeutically with families during the pandemic. Although written from the perspective of Admiral nurses, the approaches described are transferable to others working across health and social care. The article provides an overview of one of the main models of hope in the healthcare literature, Snyder's hope model, and explores the literature on hope more widely. Fictitious case vignettes, drawn from clinical practice during the pandemic, are used to illustrate how hope-based approaches can be applied to practice.

Type
Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2023. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Royal College of Psychiatrists

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