Care homes build Covid-secure pub and tearoom for family visits

A care home group in Nottinghamshire has created a Covid-secure pub and a tearoom to lift the spirits of residents and facilitate family visits.

Ashmere Nottinghamshire, which runs three care homes in Sutton-in-Ashfield, created the facilities during the pandemic to give their residents more reasons to get outdoors.

The in-house pub, named by managers as the Ashmere Arms, features a bar created by maintenance staff and is decorated with traditional pub memorabilia.

Both facilities are based in outdoor lodges, taking inspiration from many people across the country who have also created stay-at-home pubs in their houses.

Claire Sharpe, managing director of the group, explained more about how the idea came to fruition.

“I realised at the start of Covid that it might be going on for quite a while,” she told Nottinghamshire Live.

“So I started looking around for log cabins and things like that, with other people in the community building log cabins in their gardens.

“I thought what would really appeal to our residents was a traditional pub, because for our residents to want to go outside it has to be appealing to them.

“They get cold even when it’s warm, they like staying inside, so it had to be a destination that they really want to go into.

“I looked for ideas of the traditional pub, and found things online like old pub memorabilia to make it look right.

Inside the Ashmere Arms lodge pub at Ashmere Notts care group set up to support residents.
Inside the Ashmere Arms lodge pub at Ashmere Notts care group set up to support residents.
(Image: Ashmere Notts)

“As soon as it got delivered our maintenance team kitted it out, and they built the bar themselves.”

However, once the first lodge was complete, staff realised that it was kitted out more for the male residents in the three homes.

In a bid to provide the service for all residents, they then went on to purchase a second lodge designed in the form of a traditional tea room.

Ms Sharpe adds that both facilities have “gone down really well” with residents and their families.

“I wanted to build another one which was much more feminine,” she said.

“I built the tearoom next door, it’s a vintage style and we’ve got lots of wedding tea sets, a working gramophone, and that has been getting them up dancing.

“One of the residents said that they want to stay in there all day, it’s exactly what they like to do and how they remember it.

“It’s gone down really well, and now we’ve got a bit of choice for the residents.”

Family visits were given the go-ahead in care homes across the country from March 8, with one family member nominated to visit residents on a regular basis.

However, the home must adhere to social distancing regulations, and Ms Sharpe explained how the lodges adhere to the Government measures.

She said: “They’re both totally Covid-secure, as you go in it works on a sensor to put the heaters and fire on, switch the lights on.

“There are no light switches, no switches you need to touch to turn on and off, and there is a floor to ceiling screen in there.

“The residents sit on one side and the families sit on the other, and they will have drinks in disposable cups so we can throw it away.”

The managing director adds that she is already in the process of building a third cabin for the residents, which will eventually incorporate the look and feel of a local shop.

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This, she says, will give them the opportunity to go and buy their favourite things and have the social and independent elements of life.

However, in the meantime, the third cabin will be used as a Covid testing centre for when family members come to visit their relatives.

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Nottinghamshire Live – Local News