LETTER: Why demolish care home and break so many fragile hearts?

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REGARDING the closure of Halmer Grange Respite/Care Home.

This calamitous event is due on September 30. On that date, four other, similar venues in the county will close.

The local authority persists in stating that these facilities were closed ‘following a wide consultation with people using the homes, their families, staff, partner agencies, and the public’.

This is an outright lie. I speak from my knowledge of, and discussions at Halmer Grange.

No one has asked the residents, their carers, or their families about this disaster. If any member of staff, partner agency, carer, or their families, or the public has been consulted, perhaps they would be kind enough to identify themselves to this newspaper, if only to get some idea of numbers.

My 84-year-old husband (whose 24/7 carer I am) has used Halmer Grange Day Care twice a week, following diagnosis of dementia, and assessment by the Adult Social Care Unit.

He also, occasionally, has a few nights in respite care when my own medical needs require me to have some ‘time off’. My husband has a number of other, very serious, medical problems.

Lincolnshire County Council has promised the following – in writing:

A) a service to help find alternative care.

B) a personal budget.

C) an assessment of needs

D) someone with whom to discuss these problems ‘face to face’.

No one has approached us, or anyone we know, on any of these subjects. My husband was due for his annual assessment last January. At the end of June, we are still waiting.

The local authority talks about ‘modernising’, ‘fit for purpose’, ‘the right approach’, ‘standard of care’, etc. Halmer Grange has all these qualifications, and more. All the residents are happy there. The staff, without exception, are the most wonderful, caring, professional people I have ever been privileged to know. If it ain’t broke, why mend it?

I would ask LCC the following, open questions:

1 Why demolish Halmer Grange?

2 Why break so many elderly, fragile hearts?

Do you not know that change of routine, particularly in the elderly, causes a great deal of stress – often the cause and onset of a serious illness, the precursor of death?

3 Why remove pre-planned respite care from the carers, themselves very elderly – putting even more pressure on an already stressful situation?

4 When are you going to fulfil your promises A to D above?

It is just a thought, but I wonder how many of these ‘decision makers’ actually know any elderly people. How many of them have actually had contact with frail, elderly folk, often very confused, who depend on those paid to take care of their health and welfare? Are any of these all powerful people actually 24/7 carers themselves?