New 1960s themed cafe opens at Victoria Hospital ward for elderly patients

A new 1960s themed cafe has opened at Victoria Hospital for elderly patients and visiting family members.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 8:23 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 8:23 am

The new ‘Bus Stop Café’ has been created on Ward 32 which provides medicine for the elderly, and cares for people with dementia or delirium.

It aims to be a safe space where patients can relax and enjoy a cuppa or a snack, as well as spending time with visitors.

The project was made possible with a Small Grant of £5000 from Fife Health Charity, which was used to help transform an underused day room on the ward into a more usable facility.

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At the opening of the new 1960s bus stop cafe at Victoria Hospital's ward 32 - which caters for elderly patients, many with dementia or delirium - are (from left) Julie Farr, Fife Health Charity manager; Amy Fox, Senior Charge Nurse,; Karen Masters, artist who designed the cafe, and Helen Skinner, Alzheimers Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant.

Spending time in hospital can be upsetting for anyone, but this anxiety is often heightened for those with dementia or delirium which can lead to such patients displaying agitation and distressed behaviour.

This is managed by supporting patients with stimulating activities such as dominoes, painting and jigsaws - and they can now be done in the cafe rather than at their bedside.

The new facility will also support better nutrition and fluid intake - elderly patients who are unwell or distressed can often experience a lack of appetite.

Helen Skinner, an Alzheimer’s Scotland dementia nurse consultant, was involved in the development of the ‘Bus Stop Café’.

The new 1960s bus stop cafe at Victoria Hospital's ward 32 - which caters for elderly patients, many with dementia or delirium -

Shen said: “Stress and distressed behaviours are a common experience of people with dementia or delirium when they are cared for in an acute hospital.

“The person may have cognitive problems that can often be compounded by noise and the busy activity in a ward, as well as the trauma of facing such change in their daily life.

“The interactive activities this area will support will help us reduce the isolation patients can often feel whilst in hospital and will create a more calming environment for those in distress.

“Perhaps just as importantly, the new café area will enable nursing staff to engage patients in more stimulating activities, which we know helps maintain better cognitive function and aids physical recovery.”

At the opening of the new 1960s bus stop cafe at Victoria Hospital's ward 32 - which caters for elderly patients, many with dementia or delirium -

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The initial concept was created by the nursing team on Ward 32, and their ideas were then passed on to local artist Karen Masters – a curator of therapeutic design - who drew up the final designs.

The use of reminiscence is well known to support the care of patients with dementia, both as a means of reducing distress and to helping retain cognitive function.

Karen designed the café in a 1960s style for this reason, with a number of features familiar to elderly people from days gone by.

The name ‘Bus Stop Café was chosen on the basis that disorientated patients on the ward often looked for a bus stop to help them navigate to a place of comfort - and a large graphic at the entrance to the café displays an old photo of the bus stop on the nearby Kirkcaldy Promenade.

The cafe’s opening coincides with the annual Dementia Awareness Week, which runs until June 6, and seeks to improve the lives of people affected by dementia.

Rona Laing, who chairs Fife Health Charity’s sub-committee, said: “The new café will help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety caused by having to stay in hospital, while also helping improve patients’ overall health and wellbeing.”

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