ANZIO Digital Possible Closing of Eight Care Homes Consultation

by Patricia Montgomery, LincsMag Writer.
Date: 01 March 2010

Photograph by Ginny Austin - Possible Closing of Eight Care Homes Consultation - Lincolnshire Magazine - LincsMag.com

Councillor Marianne Overton, Leader of the Independent Group at Lincolnshire County Council has been helping the voices of residents to be heard. Residents of two homes under consultation for closure have been making their voices heard on video.

Councillor Marianne Overton said: "We interviewed everyone who was able, without selection. I am hugely impressed how highly all of the residents spoke of the homes and the care they received. They found all of the staff professional, friendly and cheerful, giving them confidence and encouragement with exercises and treatment to improve to the point where they were able to return home and turn their key in their own front door."

There are large wet rooms, most rooms have a sink, and one or two do have en suite bathrooms. When asked about not having an en suite bathroom, one gentleman laughed.

“Privacy!” he said. “It takes three ladies to shower me, you know! What do I care if the bathroom is en suite or not!”

Others pointed out that it was the care that mattered not the bricks and mortar.

The statistics show that care in these homes is successful in reducing the time spent in hospital and helping them return safely to their own homes. The care is focussed towards helping them be independent and it works. Residential homes don’t do this and people often end up staying in full time care.

These homes are working well, and we need them. These are high performing homes for respite and intermediate care, centres of excellence.

The facilities would need some basic improvements. The homes should have a few en suite rooms, which is feasible. Very little en suite is needed, as many occupants are not able enough to use a bathroom unassisted in any case. This is not a hotel. There is no en suite at hospital, nor for many at their homes. It is not a hotel they want, it is the care that enables them to get back on their feet.

Photograph by Leroy Skalstad - Possible Closing of Eight Care Homes Consultation - Lincolnshire Magazine - LincsMag.com

Residential homes as proposed do not replace what is currently offered here. Since we need more provision, there is no point in closing those that are working well. We do need more private provision, but we need a mixed economy.

The current Council homes are working well, Private provision as suggested in the consultation is expensive. It means we are paying for extra smart bricks and mortar instead of care. The 5* hotel exemplar given is not affordable nor even wanted by everyone.

If residents have the money, they spend it quickly and within a few years are back on the state. For those that cannot pay, the council will pay £360/week and you need to have relatives who will pay, perhaps £140/week, for a place such as the exemplar given. What if you do not have a relative who can pay?

If the Council negotiates a low rate for their own tenants, then the rent on the others will have to be raised. Is it right that because you have an elderly relative, you must also subsidise their neighbour? It would be fairer for that subsidy to come off tax. Better still to have decent homes at a reasonable cost.

In Summary

We need decent homes that don't cost a fortune, enabling us to put more money into much-needed care.

Stimulating further provision for residential care is helpful and we do have an exception policy which allows development adjacent to villages on relatively cheap land for affordable housing or community use. In addition, there may be some places where we could work with the District Councils to increase provision, in the same way as they are currently getting more affordable housing. If shops are not viable in current small villages, what makes us think they are going to be viable in these new villages for the elderly?

For residential care, better to encourage private providers to build smaller "sheltered housing type" closes in or adjacent to villages to support and enhance the existing village facilities. We also need to keep the current excellent centres focussed on getting people back on their feet and home.

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