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Dementia pub and café open in Lancashire

Posted on the 23rd May 2016

With Dementia Awareness Week this week, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust opened on Friday 20 May a non-alcoholic dementia pub and also dementia café at one of its sites to help patients with dementia feel at home and improve their overall wellbeing.

Now complete, both the mock pub and café are open at The Harbour, a mental health hospital run by the Trust in Blackpool, as part of efforts to help people with dementia feel comfortable in a familiar environment. Complete with a bar, beer pumps, pump badges, cask taps, a dart board and ice buckets, the dementia pub—named Iggy’s Bar—has been designed to make the experience as authentic and mentally stimulating as possible.

The café, on the other hand, is named Maureen’s café and has an outdoor seating area, a counter, cake stands and necessary cutlery to also give it a traditional and authentic feel. Both have been named after former patients at the hospital. Staff at The Harbour said the pub and café are being designed to prompt conversation, keep people engaged and stimulate memories.

Sheila Kasaven, Senior Matron at The Harbour, said: “The wards have worked closely with patients and carers to create these fabulous structures in their individual gardens to create a comforting and familiar environment for patients and their visitors to meet, socialise and talk. We’re really excited by them and so are our service users. We hope they will play a positive role in helping patients reduce the stress of being in a hospital environment by being able to talk about past experiences, reminiscing and stimulating conversations. Our staff have been working above and beyond to create these structures and to ensure that the café and pub are as realistic as possible while being situated in secure environments within the hospital grounds. I’m sure both the pub and the café will create an environment and opportunity for families to visit relatives and engage with staff. Our patients are extremely supportive of the idea and we hope they will trigger fond memories.”

Also in attendance at the opening of both structures was Trevor Baxter, husband of Maureen Baxter, a former patient at the hospital after who the café is named. He said: “I’m proud that this café is named after Maureen and very touched by it. It’s a very good idea and I’m really pleased with it. I think all my family will be very pleased with it. It’s touching that patients will be able to benefit from it and makes us happy that it will positively impact the lives of many people.”

The pub and café are to be used for reminiscence therapy. According to the Alzheimer's Society, reminiscence work helps people connect between the past, the present and the future. It also helps people living with dementia who are losing their communication skills to talk more and encourages sociability.

The pub is situated in a large wooden summer house in an enclosed garden area of the male ward, while the café is situated in another similar summer house in an enclosed garden area of the female ward. Both structures have capacity to hold half a dozen people.

For more information about Dementia Awareness Week, please visit www.alzheimers.org.uk. To find out about older adult services at Lancashire Care please visit www.lancashirecare.nhs.uk.