£200m revamp for care homes

CARE homes in Cotmanhay, West Hallam and Sandiacre could be among the first in the county to be closed if plans to inject £200m into adult care are given the go-ahead next week.

Derbyshire County Council announced that the scheme – thought to be the first of its kind in the country – would deliver ‘dementia-friendly’ care and offer state-of-the-art accommodation to hundreds of elderly people.

It would be the biggest investment the authority has ever made in adult care and would bring care and support services to within 10 miles of everyone in Derbyshire, replacing local authority care homes with affordable one- and two-bedroom apartments.

But in the short term, there are fears it could turn the lives of hundreds of elderly people in county council-run care homes – some with severe health problems, including dementia – upside down.

Nine of the county’s homes, including Beechcroft in West Hallam, Hazelwood in Cotmanhay and Lady Cross House in Sandiacre, will be the first to be looked at if councillors give the thumbs-up to the plans at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

Cllr Jones, cabinet member for adult care, said: “These are ambitious plans to transform the care that is on offer to older people across Derbyshire, making it fit for the future.

“We realise, if the plans go ahead, there will be disruption for people and we would do everything we could to minimise this and support people through any changes. All the plans would be subject to further consultation.”

Under the plans, a network of 1,600 ‘extra care’ apartments are planned to be built within five miles of most county residents.

The apartments will be available to buy, rent or as shared ownership, where elderly residents can live independent lives with their own front door but have support and care on site at all times.

There will be communal areas and shared facilities, like cafés or restaurants, for use by residents and the wider community.

Similar schemes already exist in Wirksworth, Dronfield and Glossop.

Two community care centres will be built in Heanor and Darley Dale and could be operational as soon as 2014.

Existing sites in Staveley and Swadlincote will offer more specialised services for older people, including short and long-term residential care, specialist dementia care, rehabilitation services and respite care.

Council leader Cllr Andrew Lewer said: “These plans are a major leap forward in the way we care for older people. We want everyone to have their own front door and live independently for as long as possible.

“When people need extra support these plans mean they would have more choice and could expect buildings and services that meet modern standards and expectations.”

The consultation over whether to redevelop the first nine care homes is due to start in April.

Consultation on the remaining county council-run homes, including Hillcrest in Kirk Hallam and Southlands in Long Eaton will be carried out at a later date but are not likely to be affected by the changes for up to five years.