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Recommendations on future of four care homes

Thursday 14 November  2013

A cross-party committee of County Councillors is to review the outcomes of a consultation on the future of four care homes and a day centre, and scrutinise the recommendations from the Director of Adult Services.

The proposals to improve the quality of care provided, form part of the Council's response to the challenges of caring for an ageing population and increasing demand for support. The Council wants to make sure it has the right balance of care services in place and can meet residents' expectations for more independence, choice and control, now and in the future.

The recommendations to be scrutinised by the Safe and Healthy People Select Committee on 22 November, ahead of a decision by the Council's Cabinet on 9 December, take into account the consultation responses alongside a number of other factors. These include the suitability of the buildings to accommodate people with increasingly complex care needs and the viability of adapting them; the availability of good quality alternative accommodation in the four locations, and the need to ensure the right care is available in the right places across the county.

Three of the care homes; Bulmer House in Petersfield, Deeside in Basingstoke and Nightingale Lodge in Romsey are being recommended for closure.

Closure is being put forward due to the availability of alternative care facilities locally, both independently-run and those operated by the Council. Other considerations include difficulties with the existing care home buildings which restrict the ability to deliver care with dignity to the increasingly frail and those with dementia. Providing alternative modern care facilities locally will also enable people to live independently for longer, with choice and control.

It is proposed that the fourth home, Cranleigh Paddock in Lyndhurst, which is a specialist dementia facility, is retained because of the expert nature of the care provided. However, the building that houses the day centre attached to Cranleigh Paddock is recommended for closure due to the high quality alternative provision available from the independent sector in the community.

Although not a specialist dementia unit, a number of residents of Deeside are living with dementia. In recognition of the issues raised about the availability of alternative accommodation for people with dementia in Basingstoke, it is proposed that the closure of Deeside is delayed until the specialist wing, currently being built at Oakridge House, is open. This is expected in autumn 2014.

In response to concerns raised during the consultation period for the wellbeing of residents currently living within the homes, Cllr Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: "We are very sensitive to the fact that we are talking about people's homes, and our priority remains the care and wellbeing of the care home residents. Regardless of the decision that Cabinet may make on 9 December, we will ensure that residents and their relatives continue to be fully supported by our highly experienced care staff."

The good quality and affordability of care within the Council-run homes was also raised during the consultation, with concerns that accountability may not be the same with independently run homes. In fact around 86 per cent of care places funded by the Council are provided by independently-run homes. The Council will only purchase care from providers that meet strict criteria, working closely with the independent sector and the Care Quality Commission.

To provide a better range of facilities for the future, the Council is investing £45million into Extra Care assisted living, which allows people to remain in a home of their own with the reassurance and security of 24hr care being on site. Public feedback during the consultation was in support of Extra Care, but people said that independent living was not suitable for most of the residents currently within the care homes, and that there is a need to retain residential care particularly for those with high-end dementia. There are 450 residential and nursing homes in Hampshire - 50% of which provide dementia care and there are 18 recognised affordable Extra Care assisted living schemes. Cllr Perry said: "It is essential that we continue to meet the needs of people with differing care requirements. What we must achieve is having the right balance of care services for the future, from nursing and residential care, to Extra Care and care at home."

"The care of older people is of the upmost importance to us and it is clear from the responses we have received that the Hampshire community feels the same. The Cabinet at its meeting on 9 December will pay attention to the views of the Select Committee for its assessment of whether the recommendations they consider on 22 November, take into account all the relevant factors, in order to ensure the delivery of quality care, fit for the 21st century."

The Safe and Healthy People Select Committee does not make a decision on the future of the care homes. Its views will be presented alongside the Director's report to the Cabinet for a decision at a special meeting on Monday 9 December. Cabinet meetings are open to the public and can also be viewed live on the County Council's webcast.

If members of the public would like to make a presentation (a deputation) at either the Cabinet meeting or the pre-scrutiny meeting, information on how to do this is available on the website, or by contacting Democratic and Member Support on 01962 845751, email: members.services@hants.gov.uk. Any application to make a deputation must be made no less than three clear working days in advance of the meeting.

Please note that under the County Council's Constitution, each deputation, comprising up to four people, is allowed up to 10 minutes, with a maximum amount of time for deputations of one hour in total. Depending on the number of deputations, time for individual deputations is reduced on a proportional basis. Deputations can only appear once within six months at a meeting on the same or similar matter.

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