Care homes recommended for closure due to falling demand and outdated dementia facilities
Following a period of engagement with residents and their families, Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve the closure of two care homes in Stroud at their meeting on 24 July.
Southfield care home has had a fifth of its rooms empty since January 2019, and care homes need to have 90-95 percent of its places full to remain financially viable. Additionally, Wyatt House is a dementia specialist care home but cannot offer the specialist facilities that are required in dementia care homes today, due to limitations with the design of the building and garden. Both care homes are operating at a loss and are forecast to lose more money in the future due to a decrease in demand for places.
The county council and the Gloucestershire Care Partnership (the charity which runs the care homes) have looked at various options to keep the homes open and financially viable; however, they have not been able to find a sustainable solution.
Over the past few weeks, adult social care staff have held several meetings, one-to-one appointments, and phone calls with families to hear their views on alternative options that could be considered and what the impact would be on them if the homes were closed.
As more people choose to be supported in their own homes and stay within their communities for as long as possible, demand for care home places has declined across the county and is forecast to decline further in the future, particularly for residential care.
The council also met with the Gloucestershire Care Providers Association to discuss what the impact of closure would be on the care home market in Stroud. They advised that there is more than enough capacity to take all of the residents in Stroud, if they wish to stay in the local area; there are 25 care homes in Stroud and 14 of these provide specialist dementia care.
Cllr Roger Wilson, cabinet member for adult social care commissioning, said: “I want to thank residents and their families for taking the time to speak to us over the past few weeks; we recognise that these are people’s homes and this is a difficult time for them. If cabinet do take the decision to close the homes, our priority is to make sure that they receive the best care and support throughout the transition.
“We are spending more money to support older people in our county than ever before but we need to make sure that this money pays for high quality care and not for empty beds. We are also recommending that if any money is made from these two homes it will be ring fenced for older people in the future.”
If the closure is agreed, a 12-week consultation will take place to assess the impact of the decision on residents and their families so that they receive all the support they need. Everyone will be given a dedicated social care worker and a care home movement plan that follows national best practice guidelines; if people want to move to the same care home as a friend, this will be supported wherever possible.