Jane Bussell Harbour Club Photos Jane Bussell PHoto Pool Table



What job did you used to do?  I qualified as an Occupational Therapist in 2006; I have worked for Thurrock Council and for the NHS as part of the Billericay and Basildon community therapy teams.
Could you explain how I, Katie Warren and yourself met? Katie and I met in 2013 at South Woodham Ferrers library at a community event, designed to inform the local community of various organisations and services available.
What is the Harbour Club?  The Harbour Club is a specialist day centre for older adults living with a cognitive impairment.  The Harbour Club is a Social Enterprise a ‘not for profit’ organisation.
What made you start The Harbour Club, tell us yourstory?  Having worked in health and social care I was aware of the high numbers of older adults living in the community with dementia, and how few services were available to meet their needs.  At the same time my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  He was lucky and was allocated a place at a day centre for younger adults with dementia.  When he died I realised how lucky we had all been to have been he had really been too old to attend the day centre, but they had bent the rules for him.  I was also frustrated that as a profession Occupational Therapists were not doing more to meet the needs of older adults with dementia.  I had the idea to set up my own service.  I used savings and a grant from UNLTD to set up The Harbour Club.  We opened in May 2011 one day a week with 4 members.  Now 3 years as of April 2014 we will be open 4 days a week with 44 members.
Why have the dementia day centres you have experienced not provide adequate care in your opinion?  I have only had experience of one day hospital for older adults with mental health conditions, this was 8 years ago.  At the time I felt the staff were institutionalised and unaware of how to meet their patient’s needs.
What type of clients do you have?  Our members are all aged 65yrs and over, and all have a diagnosed or undiagnosed cognitive impairment.  This could be Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s disease etc.
What does The Harbour Club provide that you feel is special and not mainstream?  The Harbour club is Occupational Therapy led and has occupational therapy at the heart of all it does.
How can you reassure a carer family who brings their loved one to attend The Harbour Club that they will receive safe and excellent care?  All potential members are asked to attend an assessment visit, where they can experience the care we provide first hand.
How does being an Occupation Therapist help in caring for people with dementia?Can you come to The Harbour Club if you don’t have dementia?    Which other clients do you help?  Yes, we are able to assess the level of ability that an individual is able to function at and adapt activities to enable our members to engage as fully as possible and meet their needs.
What is a typical day? A typical day is 09.30 -15.30 and begins with our cognitive stimulation maintenance programme, aimed to stimulate the thinking part of the brain in a non-threatening way.  Lunch is shared with staff and volunteers, the afternoons are less formal and activities are dependent on our members’ interests and preferences.
What is the cost? The Harbour Club is £60 this includes a two course lunch, transport is calculated separately dependent ton the journey.
Explain about transport please? Transport is provided by an independent company who run a wheelchair accessible minibus.  We also have a volunteer driver and a local taxi company that provide us with competitive rates.
How many staff do you have? We have 4 members of staff each day.
How do you train them? We receive training from Essex County Council, we have in-house training and eLearning.
Please explain about stimulation and what you do to help your clients? We provide a cognitive stimulation therapy maintenance programme (8 week rolling programme).  The memory service provides a 14 week programme, aimed at those with mild to moderate dementia.  As Occupational Therapists we are able to adapt this programme making it accessible to mild, moderate and later stages of dementia.
Could you share with us some success stories you have had in helping some clients and how? We have two clients who have been with us for the past three years.  We receive good feedback from the families.  The Harbour Club has helped to maintain these individuals to continue to live at home.
Would you like to expand and help more people? Yes
How can we improve dementia care do you think? By raising the profile and understanding the condition better and by investing in evidence based interventions to meet their needs.
Are you able to offer private occupational therapist services? Yes
What would you wish to say to carer families or anyone interested in dementia care who would be reading this about yourself or dementia care in general and about The Harbour Club? I am passionate about dementia care.  I feel Occupational Therapy is well placed to meet the needs of those living with dementia.  I am happy to share good practice with anyone ready to listen.


Jane Bussell BSc (Hons) OT