Men who used to enjoy a drink with friends after work every evening, are still able to enjoy a drink at night, even though they are living in a hospital dementia ward.

Derwen Ward, part of Cefn Coed Hospital in Wales, opened the Derwen Arms last year, a pub that in many ways is just like any other pub. It serves beer, and has a pool table, and a dart board.

The Derwen Arms has been set up to look much like any other pub, with tables and chairs and touches such as beer mats adding to the authenticity.

Even through the beer is non-alcoholic and the darts are plastic, the pub has been hugely successful. The concept has been embraced by staff, residents and families.

Patrons of the pub are often joined by their wives, providing the opportunity for social engagement, and  is an opportunity for couples to connect.

Health care support workers Leon Williams and Michelle Nicholls play darts. Image: Source: Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

Health care support workers Leon Williams and Michelle Nicholls play darts. Image: Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

The generation that went to the pub to meet friends in the evening

Kath Protheroe, ward manager, and Dawn Griffin, clinical lead, came up with the idea.

In a hospital news release, Ms Griffin said, “In the evenings some of our gentlemen can get unsettled and agitated.

“They think they’ve finished their shift for the day and they are of the generation where they would go to the pub for a pint with their friends after work.

“We thought – what better way to help them than to get a pub on the ward?”

Pub given residents opportunity to socialise

Residents have embraced the concept.

“The reaction has been huge. They’re socialising well. They have a day area and they use it, but they often ask us when the pub is opening.

“They can take their relatives and friends there for a pint when they visit.”

Even though people living with dementia may have trouble forming new memories, some people still have memories from the past.

“It’s about trying to normalise things they were doing before they came into hospital.

The pub is funded in part by the ward’s rehabilitation budget, but staff and families also make donations towards its running.

Another ward on the hospital site also uses the Derwen Arms, and contributes to its upkeep.

Health care support worker Andrew Ross enjoys a game of pool. Image: Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

Health care support worker Andrew Ross enjoys a game of pool. Image: Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board

Pub has reduced medication use

Ms Protheroe said, “Even in these early days the Derwen Arms has had a huge impact on the service we are able to provide.

“There is evidence that the quality of care and patient engagement have improved, and pharmacological intervention has reduced as a result of this initiative.”

She also thanked those who helped make the project a success.

“We would like to express our thanks to all ward staff for embracing the improvement for the benefit of our patients, and service managers for supporting us every step of the way,” she said.

“Thanks also to friends, families and colleagues for their kind donations. We couldn’t have achieved this without them.”

Design maximised for those living with dementia

Derwen Ward is the all-male unit of Cefn Coed Hospital. It has 60 beds, and is designed for men living with dementia.

The unit consists of two oval wards, each with 16 en-suite rooms, and two, two bedded en-suite rooms which can be set up for couples, family or friendship pairs.

The ward has a ‘wandering loop’ with an enclosed garden courtyard, which provides a safe place for residents to walk.

There are seating areas for families and visitors, large dining and social areas, and family members are able to stay overnight.

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