Closing Newport care home 'could kill its elderly residents'
9:27am Thursday 10th January 2013 in News
RELATIVES of residents at a Newport care home fear closing the building and moving patients could kill them, or leave dementia patients unable to cope if they are moved.
Families concerned about the closure of Hillside Resource Centre, Gaer Road, got together on Tuesday night to share their views about the Newport City Council 2013/14 budget proposals.
Gail Brooksbank, whose father receives residential care at Hillside, told the Argus: “My father could move but no other homes have en suite facilities. Some of the changes will kill people.”
Gerard Parselle, whose father Norman, 78, is a resident, said: “There is no way he will be put in Extracare, and how long it would take him to recognise new surroundings, I have no idea, you do not know how he would react to different people.
“Because he is a dementia sufferer the council cannot wash their hands of him.
“The council’s proposals are dangerous and inadequate.”
Jacqui Ford, whose aunt Betty Roberts, 86, is a resident, said she invited three Gaer councillors to the meeting but none were able to attend.
“We went along to visit the Extracare facilities. You get an empty flat and residents have to provide all meals except lunch and do their own shopping,” said Mrs Ford.
She said Extracare is great for those who are able to live independently but is not suitable for everyone.
“Elderly people like familiarity and I am sure some of them who are quite frail might go into decline if they were moved,” added Mrs Ford.
Her husband Tony Ford said there was “no major plan” to care for dementia patients under the council proposals.
“Hillside is exemplary,” he said. “It is ridiculous that when they get to a certain standard it is a warning to others not to get too good or you will close.”
Chris Murray, whose mother Pamela, 71, has lived at Hillside for two years said: “She has been very happy with the service at Hillside and I am afraid that if she has to move, it would be going back to square one in a completely new environment with new people.
Residents and families have until February 13 to make their feelings known before consultation with Newport City Council closes.
On February 18 the council’s scrutiny committee will meet to consider feedback about its 2013/14 budget plans to close the centre.
Plans also include withdrawing funding in other areas, such as Gwent Music Support Service and Underwood Leisure Centre, in a bid to save £8.4 million.
Visit www.newport.gov.uk to take part.
The final budget will be considered by the full council on February 26.
Council could save £853k
HILLSIDE Care Home would not close until 2015/16 at the earliest if proposals for shutting the service are accepted, according to a senior officer at Newport council.
Strategic director of care and customers Stuart Greenwell said the council is negotiating with housing associations on the location of the replacement Extra Care scheme.
“The real difference is that people are tenants. They have got rights as tenants and they have got an apartment, which means they can lead as independent a life as they want to,”
Mr Greenwell said there would be some residents not suitable for the scheme and there would be some whose relatives would choose for them not to go in.
Hillside accommodates 24 people and the proposal for the draft 2013/14 budget is to replace it with an Extra Care housing scheme, which would be likely to house 40 and 48 people.
The council would save £853,000 but would initially spend £53,000 on the move.
Such centres have 24/7 care with staff based there.
Cabinet member for social care Councillor Paul Cockeram said residents may be offered a another residential home if there is a vacancy.
Those who aren’t suitable would be allocated a social worker to ensure appropriate accommodation is found, Cllr Cockeram said.
The council would redeploy staff whose jobs are at risk.
ARGUS COMMENT: Tough times for councils
THERE has been much written and said in recent days about Newport City Council’s proposed spending cuts.
As we have seen, several of the plans have sent shockwaves through different sections of our community as the full extent of the proposals becomes apparent.
Today we are reporting on the reaction to the proposed closure of the Hillside Care Home as relatives of residents gathered to air their concerns about the plans.
And what they say is entirely understandable.
Their relatives are elderly, some of them are infirm and others are suffering dementia.
Jacqui Ford speaks for many when she says she fears the more frail residents might go into decline if moved.
We realise not every proposed council cut can be halted. Savings have to be made, such are the straitened times for public-sector organisations.
As we are also reporting Monmouthshire council is setting out its proposed budget cuts. And we have no reason to doubt that its proposals, which include raising parking charges and charging for green waste collections, will also be controversial.
Councillors there will face tough questions.
But what is vital is the people directly affected by the cuts do have their views heard. Consultation has to be a two-way flow of information and ideas.
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