Shock for elderly residents as care home closes

RESIDENTS at a Cynon Valley care home have been given just over a week’s notice to find somewhere new to live.

And staff at the Aran Hedd care home in Abercynon have also been told: “Sorry, you’re out of a job.”

The home in Abercynon will close its doors on Friday, forcing its eight vulnerable residents in to new, unfamiliar homes. All 16 staff will be jobless.

Family members wishing to move their relatives from the home are usually required to give 28 days’ notice, although guidelines as to how much notice homes should give are unclear.

The closure is for financial reasons, the council confirmed.

The Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) said the owner had taken the decision to close the home.

The owner has not responded to our calls.

A relative of one elderly resident said she and her husband were given the news last Friday – leaving them just seven days to find alternative specialist accommodation.

Iris Beamand, whose 85-year-old aunt, Barbara Wilde, has lived at the Carnetown home for 16 months, said she’s been unable to sleep with worry.

The 61-year-old said: “These are vulnerable adults. My aunt knows all the staff, and they are brilliant with her. They know all her little quirks, what she likes and doesn’t like, and how to deal with her if something goes wrong.

“It’s her home and they are like family to her, and to us. Relatives are always made welcome there.

“We’re still waiting to hear if there’s a bed for her elsewhere. It’s been really distressing. Going to a new establishment is going to be a huge wrench for my aunt.”

A member of staff at the home, who did not want to be named, said up to 16 people will lose their jobs when the 16-bed privately-run home, which only recently changed its name from Ty’r Twyn Court, closes.

But while devastated at the prospect, she said helping the residents who are set to lose their home remained the team’s priority.

“We were told last Thursday that it would be closed on Friday, April 20, and the news came completely out of the blue.

“The staff are even prepared to keep running the home without wages. But the owner said that it’s just not financially viable any more.

“Our staff have done fundraisers and sponsored walks up Pen Y Fan to keep money coming in, but we had no idea it was this bad.

“We’ve all got families to care for or bills to pay, but right now, we just want to focus on the clients and make their move to other homes as smooth as possible.

“One lady is in her nineties and has been here over 10 years. She’s moving to Bridgend and she’s going to be totally lost. They all will.

“They don’t all completely understand, but two of them were asking last week ‘is it because I’ve been naughty that I can’t stay here anymore?’ It’s heartbreaking and we’ve all been in tears.”

A spokeswoman for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council said: “The council has been working with the proprietor of Aran Hedd for the last few months to try and assist the home with the financial difficulties they have been experiencing. As such, the families were notified of these problems and the council has been working with CSSIW to seek to support the home and residents.

“Unfortunately, Aran Hedd contacted the council to inform them that after pursuing all avenues, the care home would need to close and the eight residents who currently reside there would need to be relocated.

“Following this, the council contacted all the families affected and are currently working with them to ensure a safe and dignified transfer to alternative care homes in and around the area.”

A spokesman for CSSIW said: “CSSIW issued a notice of proposal to cancel registration of Aran Hedd Care Home, Abercynon on April 2, a decision based on financial viability, that included the ability to pay staff and to provide an adequate level of staffing to ensure a safe level of care and support for residents.

“The owner had 28 days to respond to this but has voluntarily taken the decision to close the home.

“We understand that the local authority has been notified of this closure and that residents and their families are being supported to find new homes.”

Ruth Marks, Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, said: “The current guidance available does not set out clearly enough the responsibilities of public bodies during a care home closure process, nor does it state what older people and their relatives can expect, often leaving them feeling isolated and ill-informed. This is why I have called on the Welsh Government to update this guidance to provide better protection for care home residents.

“Older people have the right to a clear explanation for the reasons that a care home might be closed, to understand their options and to be reassured that they will remain safe and well cared for during this process.”


 

Sourced from Wales Online, 19th April 2012.