With Dementia Awareness Week next week, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust is working on a unique project to open a pub at one of its sites to help patients with dementia feel at home and improve their overall wellbeing.
Once complete, the non-alcoholic mock pub is to open at The Harbour, a mental health hospital run by the Trust in Blackpool. It will be complete with a bar, beer pumps, pump badges, cask taps, a dart board and ice buckets to make the experience as authentic and mentally stimulating as possible. Organisers say the pub is being designed to prompt conversation, keep people engaged and stimulate memories.
Daryl Massey, Assistant Practitioner who works at The Dementia Unit at The Harbour, said:
“We’re working on building a non-alcoholic pub within the garden at The Harbour for the patients to use. We’re going for a ‘back street boozer’ look and the aim is to help people with dementia improve their wellbeing. Going into a sociable environment would help them boost their individual confidence and self-esteem and reconnect with their past. We’re also hoping the pub will create an environment and opportunity for families to visit relatives and engage with staff. We’ve spoken to our patients and they’ve very supportive of the idea—we hope it will trigger fond memories. We’ve received quite a lot of goodies for the pub from members of the public, pubs and breweries, but could still do with a little bit more. It’s all about making the entire experience as realistic as possible.”
The pub will 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 will be situated in a large double fronted shed in an enclosed garden area at The Harbour with capacity to hold half a dozen people. Once complete, there will also be a gazebo area with seating.