Hair salon recreated for women with dementia

Female dementia patients can visit their very own hair salon before enjoying afternoon tea or popping to the pub.

Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board reports innovative staff at Swansea’s Cefn Coed Hospital’s Onnen Ward have recreated a hair salon and tearoom, called Serenity, in a bid to enhance the care given to their patients. Visits to the facilities often help calm patients and help bring back memories.

The move comes after colleagues on the neighbouring Derwen Ward set up a pub for their all male patients and it is hoped that the ladies will be able to share those facilities, under supervision, in the future.

Clinical lead Deborah Morgan said “The reason we have done this is for the ladies to think that they are actually going out for an appointment to have their hair done. We based it upon an old fashioned design, and there is also a tearoom opposite so they can go and have tea and cake afterwards. The staff do their hair and nails as part of our activities, it’s all part of their personal care, but we also have a hairdresser who is based in Cefn Coed and she uses the salon to cut hair now. We are hoping in the future to be able to take the patients over to the Derwen Arms so they will be able to have their hair done and then go out to the pub.”

The tearoom in particular has proved a real resource in enhancing patient care.

Deborah Morgan said “If they do get distressed over anything, instead of giving them extra medication, a visit to the salon and tearoom can help calm them down. We also had a husband and wife visit the tearoom for a meal. She is a patient who wasn’t eating very well so we asked her husband to come along and we made it appear that they were going out for a meal together. It worked as she ate a lot better with him sitting with her.”

Onnen Ward manager Helen Hall said “The patients love coming to the teashop, thinking they have an appointment to have their hair done at the same time. We have a few old magazines which they like to look at and reminisce with. We have tried to capture what a teashop would have looked like when the patients would have gone out and visited them: we also encourage them to help make the cakes beforehand. A lot of the patients, who have dementia, are unable to communicate or do a lot of activities, but they respond well just by coming into this kind of scenario where they have the old fashioned cups and saucers. The really do appear to enjoy coming here.”

Swansea Sound radio presenter and pantomime star Kev Johns, who cut the ribbon at Serenity’s official opening, said “What a fantastic idea. I think it’s wonderful and the staff here are amazing, everybody is happy and it’s a beautiful environment with a fine afternoon tea that I’m looking forwards to. This will take people back to their younger days and help them remember those wonderful tearooms. The ladies are also of a generation where they like to have their hair done on a regular basis, they don’t have much done to it but they go once a week.”

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