The 65 elderly residents of seven care homes earmarked for closure by Derbyshire County Council have been assured every effort will be made to find ‘suitable alternative accommodation’ for them, with the authority picking up the bill.
However when Alison Richardson attempted to find homes close to The Spinney, in Brimington, where her mother Mary Marlow has lived happily for four years, she was told there was no space at her two first choices.
Mrs Richardson explained that her mother suffers from anxiety and needs to be in a home that does not have big open spaces, which is why her social worker recommended The Grange, in Eckington, and Thomas Colledge, in Bolsover, neither of which have availability.
Mrs Richardson said Cabinet members’ comments that residents would be moved simply showed how ‘heartless and devoid of true knowledge of what staff and residents are dealing with’.
She added: “It showed a profound lack of respect for the individuals welfare or mental health that they have responsibility for.
“There are 99-year-old residents crying night and day, who do not want to leave their home at the Spinney.”
More than 200 staff are now facing the possibility of redundancy following the decision.
Mrs Richardson commented: “Undervalued staff members at the homes have been left to try and console residents who are aware they are losing their home and families.”
“It was also distressing to hear [Cabinet member for Adult Care] Natalie Hoy use the platform for her own political agenda and not in respect of the process or the trauma residents are experiencing,” she continued.
Councillor Hoy commented: “This has been an incredibly difficult decision and not one that was made lightly, no politician wants to be in a situation, where they have to close care homes.
“I understand how upsetting this has been for everyone involved but our priority is and has always been for the safety and well-being of our residents, their families, and our staff.”
She maintained that the extent of the necessary refurbishment works was ‘significant’ and could not be carried out while residents were still living there, adding that even with the works completed the homes did not offer the modern facilities expected for residents.
A spokesman for the council said: “We are confident that there are enough vacancies in each area to provide the right kind of support for our residents.
“We will work closely with all the residents and their family members and will discuss in detail what the options are and explore them together to help them make a suitable choice that meets their needs.
“If we are contacted by any of our residents or their families who are worried we will work with them to make sure they will get the right care in the right accommodation.
“Our trained, knowledgeable staff are also on hand to provide support to residents with their moves to their chosen accommodation to minimise distress and to make sure they have everything they need to make their new homes as comfortable as possible.”