Care home closure could be ‘disaster’

NDET 15-1-13 RKH 2 Gill Ferguson with mum  Joyce Wood who is at risk of being homeless when her nursing home shuts.
NDET 15-1-13 RKH 2 Gill Ferguson with mum Joyce Wood who is at risk of being homeless when her nursing home shuts.

The daughter of an elderly woman with dementia fears her mother will not survive the move to another care home if plans to shut the one where she now lives go ahead.

Derbyshire County Council is proposing to replace many of its local authority care homes with affordable one and two-bedroom apartments with support and care on-site at all times.

But Gill Ferguson, 66, of Charlotte Street, Ilkeston, is concerned that if West Hallam’s Beechcroft Care Home closes, her 91-year-old mother, Joyce Wood, who suffers from severe dementia, will be moved, which would be very upsetting.

“I do not want that,” said Mrs Ferguson.

“I chose a local authority home because of the standards. The staff are dedicated and often they are an elderly residents’ only family.

“To put them somewhere totally strange is so harrowing they cannot cope.”

The county council unveiled its plans in February last year, but Mrs Ferguson said she became aware after reading a letter intended for her mother during a visit to Beechcroft in February 2010.

Under the council’s £200m scheme a network of 1,600 ‘extra care’ apartments are planned to be built within five miles of most county residents.

A spokesman said the new apartments would include 24/7 on-site care for those who need it, including people with various degrees of dementia.

But retired teacher Mrs Ferguson believes the extra care homes are designed for less dependent clients.

“I am just wondering where they’re going to get the uptake.

“We are just in limbo at the moment but we want our relatives to stay there.”

A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council said: “No decisions have been made about the future of Beechcroft yet. The proposals would be subject to planning permission and a full consultation to be carried out with residents and relatives. A start date was yet to be set.

A spokesman said: “If, following consultation, a decision is made to close a home, we would work closely with each resident and their relatives to help advise what is best for them. This could include moving into another residential home provided by us or another care agency or moving into a new extra care apartment.”

Efforts would be made to move friends to the same home or keep them in touch, she said.