City care home opens ‘pub’ to help dementia residents connect with their past

Caption: Amardeep Bhattal, Service Provision Manager, and Catherine Underwood, Director of Adult Social Services, open The Royal Oak with resident Gordon

Care home residents are to become ‘regulars’ at their own pub in a bid to help them reconnect with their past in a social space with friends and family.

Staff at the specialist dementia home The Oaks have converted a day room into ‘The Royal Oak’ – complete with pub decorations and memorabilia.

Residents from the 42-bed specialist care home in St Ann’s are encouraged to use the pub as a way of recapturing the feeling of ‘going for a pint’ as a social activity with other care home residents. For people with dementia, a connection to past activities can help with the way they manage their condition in the present. A person with dementia is also more able to recall things from many years ago than recent memories, so reminiscence gives a huge sense of comfort.

Staff used their spare time to decorate the room, which received donations from Castle Rock Brewery in Nottingham as well as The White Hart pub in Swaffham, Norfolk, whose owners have family connections to Nottingham and The Oaks.

Residents at the care home, which is run by Nottingham City Council in Campbell Street, chose The Royal Oak name from a shortlist. Alcohol is not available to buy, but donations and fundraising have created a small stock of soft drinks and real ales for residents and families. The emphasis is on the social interaction.

The Royal Oak will officially open on Wednesday 5 December at 6pm.

Cllr Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health in Nottingham, said: “This is a wonderful thing for residents in The Oaks to have – it’s about so much more than just having a pint; it’s about people with dementia connecting to something they used to do in the past. Evidence shows that these past connections with familiar things are an important aspect of the way we care for people with dementia.

“It’s also so much more welcoming for friends and family to meet their loved ones in a more relaxed, social setting. Many residents in The Oaks are cared for around the clock and don’t always get the chance to go out. This allows them to meet with family, friends and other residents in more social environment.”

The Oaks Residential Home has previously been praised for the quality of care it gives to older people. Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission rated the home as ‘Good’ and said it offers a safe and supportive environment where people are treated as individuals with dignity and respect.

The creation of The Royal Oak also follows a major revamp at The Oaks which added 10 new beds in The Acorn wing, all with new bedrooms designed to a high specification with the needs of people with dementia and physical frailties in mind.

Amardeep Bhattal, Service Provision Manager for Nottingham City Council, said: “I’m so proud of the work that everyone has put in to creating The Royal Oak – especially the staff who came in during their spare time to help set it all up. We carried out fund-raising activities to help pay for parts of it and the donations from breweries have been great at giving the pub a more authentic look and feel.

“The room is already proving to be hit with residents and their visitors. We try to make sure that all aspects of care and support at The Oaks is user-friendly and makes people feel comfortable and well looked-after.”

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