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Good and bad news for care homes on a day of decisions for Health Trust

A Bessbrook residential care home for the elderly – once earmarked for closure – will remain open.

Cloughreagh House had previously faced the axe as part of radical proposals.

But a later recommendation to retain the facility – along with Crozier House in Banbridge – was approved at a meeting today (Thursday) of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust in Craigavon.

Elderly care

The news was not so good for Roxborough House in Moy, which will be shut.

The Trust approved five key recommendations as it mapped the ‘way forward’ for statutory residential homes provision across the Southern Area.

The Trust carried out an extensive public consultation process on the five statutory residential homes within the Southern Area, namely Cloughreagh House in Bessbrook, Crozier House, Banbridge, Skeagh House in Dromore, Moy’s Roxborough House and Slieve Roe in Kilkeel.

In agreeing the recommendations on the way forward, Trust Board members stressed that all permanent residents currently living in any of the Trust’s residential homes would be supported to live in their home as long as they choose to do so – or until their needs could no longer be met within a residential care setting.

This commitment was made by the Health Minister in 2013, and while the Trust has made recommendations on the long term future of residential care, it says it does not change the care arrangements for current permanent residents.

The Trust Board recommendations will be forwarded to the HSCB for their consideration, and there will be no move to implement any part of them until such times as approval has been given by Health Minister Simon Hamilton.

The Trust Board recommended that both Cloughreagh House in Bessbrook and Crozier House in Banbridge would remain open, and that they should re-open to permanent admissions.

It was recommended that Skeagh House in Dromore would be permanently closed. Skeagh House has been temporarily closed since a landslip in 2013 and ongoing legal issues are unlikely to be resolved in the short term.

Due to the well developed range of alternative residential care already existing in the Armagh and Dungannon area, it was recommended that Roxborough House at Moy should move towards a permanent closure, and that there should be no further permanent admissions.

Trust Board recommended that they should work towards the permanent closure of Slieve Roe in Kilkeel. But the Board recognised that there are limited alternative options currently available in the Mourne area to support older people and have agreed to reopen to admissions until alternative options – in particular the 12 unit supported living facility – become available in Spring 2017

Trust Interim Chief Executive, Paula Clarke, said: “These recommendations set out a long term plan for statutory residential care in the Southern Area. We know that residents are settled within our homes, and that the quality of care is good.

“However, the ways in which older people can be supported to remain at home has developed significantly in the last few years, and will continue to develop into the future. Our recommendations are looking at residential care in the long term, and how this would best be provided.

“We are grateful to everyone who has contributed to the consultation process, for the time taken to respond, and acknowledge the depth of feeling and support for our residential homes.

“We want to reassure all permanent residents that they can remain in their homes for as long as it the best place for them. Our recommendations are very much focussed on the long term and we hope to work with local communities on further developing the care infrastructure and choices available to older people.”

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