‘Trauma’ for elderly

PUBLISHED: 17:30 22 June 2016

Care homes

Care homes

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More than one in 10 vulnerable elderly people in Weston is being put through ‘trauma’ after being forced to uproot their lives due to sudden care home closures.

The Willows in Sand Bay, Uphill Grange in Uphill Road South and Wyvern Lodge in Drove Road have all closed since the start of May or are in the process of doing so, taking 87 beds away from elderly people in the town. There are currently just more than 600 people living in care homes with nursing in Weston.

Age UK, a charity representing the older generation, said there could be a long-term impact from the closures, with a limited number of care home spaces available in Weston.

Mandy Averill, head of community services at the charity’s Somerset branch, told the Mercury: “It’s going to have a significant impact and there is a smaller pool for people in future.

“It’s particularly difficult and traumatic for people in care for a long time, as it’s become their home, or for people with conditions dementia.

“I would hope the local authority is assisting the people involved into finding new accommodation.

“Authorities are struggling with funding and with difficulty recruiting staff and it has created somewhat of a perfect storm.”

Registered Nursing Homes Association regional chairman Gordon Butcher previously told the Mercury a lack of investment from the Government had left the care home industry ‘financially unstable’ as the number of beds in Weston dwindles.

For one concerned family member who contacted the Mercury, they had to commute from Berkshire while struggling to find their 93-year-old mother a new care home.

She was given two weeks to find a new place to live when The Willows was closed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), a body responsible for judging the quality of care providers, just months after it received a sub-standard inspection report.

Ann Forrest said: “My husband and I were away on holiday when the news eventually came through, and we didn’t really get any help to find somewhere else.

“She had been there for five years. Despite the issues the care to our mother appears to be second to none.

“But it was a real stress. It had been home for my mother for so long and we were at the other end of the country.

“She needs 24-hour care so finding somewhere at short notice was very difficult.

“What made it worse was they said they hoped they didn’t have to close, but the CQC have since told me they had already did know that they would have to, and what date it would be.”

North Somerset Council was contacted by the Mercury and said it had helped to ensure all people displaced by the closures had been able to find new homes.

Its spokesman said: “Any closure is regrettable – it is the loss of someone’s home and causes uncertainty and disruption to those affected.

“We have been helping to identifying alternative placements for those people forced to move residential and nursing homes, which for a variety of reasons have recently closed or are in the process of closing.

“We understand that with one home still to close shortly, all the affected people have been safely moved to new accommodation.”

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