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A new themed café area has opened at the Victoria Hospital for elderly patients and visiting family members.

The new ‘Bus Stop Café’ has been created on Ward 32 at Victoria Hospital and is themed like a 1960’s style diner. In addition to providing a safe space where patients can relax and enjoy a cuppa or a snack, the café area will also be a space where patients can spend time with visiting loved ones as the current restrictions ease.

Ward 32 provides medicine for the elderly, and very many of those cared for on the ward have dementia or delirium. Having to spend time in hospital can be upsetting for anyone, however, this anxiety is often heightened for those with dementia or delirium which can lead to such patients displaying agitation and distressed behaviour.

Very often these behaviours are managed by supporting patients with stimulating activities like dominoes, painting and jigsaws. Where such activities would previously have been done at the patient’s bedside, these can now be done within the café, away from the hustle and bustle of the busy ward environment.

Another added benefit of the new area is how it will support better nutrition and fluid intake, which is particularly important in the care of those with dementia and delirium. It is common for elderly patients who are unwell or who are distressed to experience a lack of appetite, which can then hamper their recovery. By creating a more familiar café-type environment, it is hoped that this will encourage patients to take on the fluid and nutrition necessary to improve their physical health.

The project was made possible with a Small Grant of £5,000 from the Fife Health Charity, which was used to help transform an underused day room on the ward into a more usable facility which will provide demonstrable benefits for patients.  

Helen Skinner is an Alzheimer’s Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant and was involved in the development of the ‘Bus Stop Café’. Helen 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.

”We are really grateful to the Fife Health Charity for providing the necessary support to allow this initiative to come to fruition.”

The initial concept for the facility 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 for the café area.

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 Masters designed the café in a 1960's 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. Indeed, a large graphic on the entrance to the café displays an old photo of the bus stop on the nearby Kirkcaldy promenade.

The opening of the new café coincides with the annual Dementia Awareness Week, which runs from 31 May to 06 June 2021 and seeks to improve the lives of people affected by dementia.

Rona Laing is Chair of Fife Health Charity’s Sub-Committee. Rona said of the opening of the ‘Bus Stop Café’:

"The Fife Healthy Charity is helping to support a number of initiatives in the Kingdom through the Small Grants Programme and the new ‘Bus Stop Café’ is another example of where the Charity’s funds can be used to provide real benefits for patients, and indeed for their families and loved ones too.

“A stay in hospital can be a stressful and difficult time for anyone, and especially so for those with dementia or delirium who may already be disorientated in their surroundings. 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.”

To find out more about some of the other projects funded by the Fife Health Charity at:


Downloadable Assets:

Audio: Senior Charge Nurse, Amy Fox, describes how the new 'Bus Stop Cafe' came into being [Link]

Video: [Link]


Main Image: [LINK]

Photo caption: [L to R] Charity Manager, Julie Farr; Senior Charge Nurse, Amy Fox; Artist, Karen Masters; and Alzheimers Scotland Dementia Nurse Consultant, Helen Skinner, at the opening of the 'Bus Stop Cafe'.

Additional images: [LINK]