Elderly care home residents need to be urgently rehomed after shock closure announcement

Date published: 16 October 2019

The announcement a care home is to close has left 24 elderly people – including one aged 103 – in urgent need of alternative accommodation.

Briarmede Care Home, in Middleton, has gone into voluntary liquidation, with bosses looking for a new use for the premises.

Staff at the Rochdale Road facility, which caters for the over-65s and specialises in dementia care, were given the ‘upsetting’ news on Monday morning. It is understood 30 people will lose their jobs.

Care workers said they would continue working while residents are found alternative accommodation.

They described the home as being like ‘one big family’. Some residents and staff have been there for nearly 20 years.

Sahil Bhandari, director of Briarmede Care Ltd, said he understood it was a ‘deeply upsetting’ situation, but that the care industry was no longer a financially-viable option for the company.

He said staff would be remunerated via redundancy payments.

One member of staff, who asked not to be named, said: “A lot of us are upset about what’s going to happen to residents because some of them have been here for so long.

“Some have not got family, but they are like family to us, we know everything about them.”

They added: “We are still turning up, we can’t just abandon them.”

Residents are yet to be told of the decision to close the home until new arrangements are firmed up, but their loved ones are being informed.

The member of staff added: “We’ve only spoken to a couple of families. They are upset about what’s happening to their family members, but we have not seen many of them yet.”

She said staff had been left in a difficult position themselves, adding: “At the moment, we are still struggling.

“We have all got to find money to get to work. We’ve all got rent and mortgages to pay.”

Mr Bhandari said the home was working in close conjunction with the council and that he expected residents to be rehomed ‘very quickly’.

He added: “I’m sure it has been a deeply upsetting time for everybody involved – it’s not a decision that has been taken lightly by any stretch.

“The reality is the business of care – and what care homes receive from local authorities doesn’t suffice to cover the cost.”

Mr Bhandari insisted ‘every payment [is being] dealt with in the correct manner’, adding: “We are of sound practice and behaviour.”

Briarmede Care Home was given a ‘requires improvement’ rating by the Care Quality Commission in July.

Officials identified three breaches of the Health and Social Care Act.

It was classed as ‘inadequate’ in the ‘well led’ category of the assessment.

An official statement provided by Mr Bhandari read: “Briarmede residential home has been a well-established, professionally-run and caring environment for its residents over many years.

“Regrettably, the management has taken the difficult decision to relinquish its place within the industry due to challenging operating conditions.

“The directors have not taken the decision lightly and the company would like to thank all those closely involved with the home for their years of dedication and unstinting service to the residents.”

Sally McIvor, the council’s director of adult care, said: “We can provide reassurance that all residents are safe and secure and their family and friends are being kept fully updated at this difficult time.

“Our robust action plan will ensure residents are urgently relocated to other care homes and, working with our partners, we will make sure continuity of care is delivered as a matter of priority. The safety, wellbeing and care needs of our residents will always come first.”

Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter

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