Council plans massive care home review as it faces pressure to create extra beds

BERLIN, GERMANY - AUGUST 30:  An elderly resident (R) sits at a table while participating in an afternoon get-together in the community room of the Sewanstrasse senior care home in Lichtenberg district on August 30, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. The center opens its doors to non-residents every Tuesday, and between 30 and 70 retired people who still live in their own homes in the local neighborhood come to dance and chat over coffee and cake. Today's afternoon dance is part of Senior Citizens' Week (Berliner Seniorenwoche), a city initiative meant to highlight activities available for the city's eldery. Germany is facing significant demographic change that includes elderly citizens making up an increasing portion of the overall population, a situation aggravated by the country's birth rate, which is the lowest in Europe. The shift will continue to put greater strain on the country's ability to finance its public health and senior care programs.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)BERLIN, GERMANY – AUGUST 30: An elderly resident (R) sits at a table while participating in an afternoon get-together in the community room of the Sewanstrasse senior care home in Lichtenberg district on August 30, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. The center opens its doors to non-residents every Tuesday, and between 30 and 70 retired people who still live in their own homes in the local neighborhood come to dance and chat over coffee and cake. Today’s afternoon dance is part of Senior Citizens’ Week (Berliner Seniorenwoche), a city initiative meant to highlight activities available for the city’s eldery. Germany is facing significant demographic change that includes elderly citizens making up an increasing portion of the overall population, a situation aggravated by the country’s birth rate, which is the lowest in Europe. The shift will continue to put greater strain on the country’s ability to finance its public health and senior care programs. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Northamptonshire County Council agreed this week to conduct a review of accommodation for elderly people as it bids to plug demand for thousands of extra beds over the next five years.

However, the move looks set to spell the end of one of the county’s oldest care homes, which is set to be sacrificed as part of the overhaul.

A formal consultation will now be launched on plans to close Ecton Brook, which is run by Olympus Care Services, and to consider the future role of its remaining five homes to make them more fit for purpose and better suited to the needs of older people.

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The council said the review Olympus Care Services forms part of a wider accommodation strategy designed to assess the needs of the county between now and 2020.

This strategy outlines the forecast increase in demand for adult social care places in Northamptonshire – an extra 3,640 in the next five years. Daventry, south Northamptonshire and east Northamptonshire are expected to see the biggest increase in need.

In a statement ahead of the meeting, the council said that staff of Ecton Brook, along with residents and their families, would be fully involved in the consultation, before a final decision is made about the accommodation review in the summer.

County council cabinet member for adult social care, Cllr Suresh Patel, said: “This review looks at whether our existing provision meets the changing needs and expectations of our growing population. It has been a very tough process to identify which home we will put forward for closure and this decision is not made lightly.”

If the new care home placement costs more than the authority’s standard pay rate, the council will make up the difference in cost for the residents involved, it said.

The homes run by Olympus Care Services on behalf of the county council were built in the 1970s and 1980s and lack many essential facilities such as private bathrooms for residents.

These homes all offer the same type of accommodation and cater for the same needs, yet there is a need in Northamptonshire for a greater variety of accommodation and a greater choice for families.

The council said the review will look at how these homes might be used in the future to meet the needs of the county’s elderly population and whether the sites they are on could be better used to provide more choice, more capacity and more fit-for-purpose accommodation.

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