Giffnock care home set up pub for improved quality of life for dementia patients

We're no stranger to new pubs opening across the city but this latest boozer comes with a twist we've never seen before.

The 'Staying Inn' pub sells the classic tipples and can be home to a rowdy crowd but is actually based in a Giffnock care home. The team at Eastwood Court care home worked with an occupational therapist to look at ways of improving residents’ quality of life and providing a sense of purpose for those living in the facility.

The ‘Staying Inn’ pub opened in April and the bar has proven to be a huge success, with residents enjoying the odd sweet sherry, a quick half, or even just some sparkling water, improving both the mental and physical health of the bar’s patrons along the way. 

Fiona Gibson, Care Home Liaison Occupational Therapist at East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said that since working with the home to increase resident engagement, they have been able to reduce patients’ medication, stress, and distress in residents with dementia and increase their food and fluid intake.

She said: “The opening day was brilliant and one of the staff said it was the best day they had experienced since COVID and lockdown. Residents can put their nice clothes on, have a drink, enjoy a pub quiz and during things like the Euros or the Platinum Jubilee, we had the bunting up. More than that, when loved ones come to visit, they can visit a place that has some meaning for residents and not just be in a room with a bed.

“They can choose if they want a beer, or a wee sherry or some chips and pub grub. Living life to the fullest doesn’t end because you’re in a care home and what we know is that when we can provide an occupation-focused service for people, the overall mental health and wellbeing outcomes for residents improve. Everything that occupies your time is so important to your continued wellbeing and prevention of mental and physical health decline.”

Fiona worked with the Elizabeth Casson Trust to secure a grant to establish the bar, with donations from local businesses helping to kit it out, creating a purposeful space that residents value and enjoy.

Catherine and activity co-ordinator colleagues, Lesley Brown and Jennifer Duffy, worked hard to bring the bar to life. She added: “We have a TV in our bar which allows residents to an alternative programme to our lounge, offering choice. The Staying Inn provides a relaxing and calm environment for our residents. It's a perfect environment for everyone, with a wide choice of drinks to choose from our dementia-friendly menu, which is served with snacks. Our residents are really enjoying our new pub and we hope they will continue to do so.” 

The bar brings additional health benefits, combatting loneliness and isolation and, in some cases, bringing a renewed sense of purpose. Emma Walker, Lead Occupational Therapist for Mental Health and Recovery Services in East Renfrewhire added: “It’s about improving quality of life and making sure people are functioning and engaging at their best.

“When you are in a care home, people’s functions can deteriorate quite quickly because other people are doing things for them, which can mean people lose all sense of purpose. That can lead to an increase in stress and distress and it can become a vicious cycle where physical and mental health decline. We’re trying to reverse some of that through tailored, holistic interventions to help people to reach their potential, even if that’s just basic things like getting their own shoes on to go to our wee pub.

Emma added: “One resident was telling me about what she liked when going to the pub and her favourite tipple was a wee Babycham mixed with all sorts. There’s a lot of life to be had in a care home, no-one is calling last orders yet.”