Relatives of patients in seven care homes being closed in Northern Ireland say the closure could ‘kill’ their loved ones because of the stress of the move.
The closures come barely a month after Guy Hands, the boss of the biggest care home provider Four Seasons, warned Chancellor George Osbourne that it would have to start closing homes where income was not meeting costs.
With just 12 weeks notice given relatives fear that the stress of the move could prove too much for their elderly relatives. One resident, for examples, suffers from vascular dementia, which is like having mini-strokes, and a move could provoke another episode which may prove too much altogether for the frail gentleman.
The care homes to be closed are: Victoria Park and Stormont in Belfast, Antrim, Garvagh, Donaghcloney near Banbridge, Oakridge in Ballynahinch, and Hamilton Court in Armagh.
This could be the first of a considerable round of closures throughout the nursing home sector, as was warned in a recent letter to the Chancellor from major care home providers, which I commented on in a previous blog.
The homes set to close are all well thought of by the residents and so it is a pure economic issue. They are simply not making enough money, and the fears of relatives highlights how some people are questioning if the private sector should ever be involved in such a critical of care.
Justin Bowden national organiser of the GMB union said “The care sector is in desperate need of funds. It isn’t that they aren’t making a profit, they can’t even cover costs. This is not a lifestyle choice for over 65s or about a healthy granny going into a care home. There are young disabled residents and of the elderly more than 50% have dementia with the majority having underlying acute medical conditions. They can’t be kept at home with domiciliary care.”