De­men­tia care ‘near­ing cri­sis’

Macclesfield Express - - BRIAN OLLIER: A TRIBUTE - ALEX HIB­BERT

CARE ser­vices for older peo­ple and de­men­tia suf­fer­ers in Mac­cles­field are near­ing cri­sis, a char­ity has warned.

In an exclusive in­ter­view with the Ex­press, Made­lyn Bridge, Age UK Cheshire East chief ex­ec­u­tive, said there aren’t enough beds for de­men­tia suf­fer­ers in the town.

She said: “The care pro­vi­sion in Mac­cles­field is al­most at cri­sis point. It is al­ready ex­cep­tion­ally hard for any­one to source af­ford­able, good qual­ity care in the town – there just isn’t ad­e­quate ca­pac­ity – and fre­quently, de­men­tia suf­fer­ers are forced to go to Stock­port, Crewe or Stafford to find a bed.”

Cheshire East Coun­cil’s De­men­tia Com­mis­sion­ing Plan pro­poses to trans­fer all respite care to the in­de­pen­dent sec­tor – mean­ing it will be pro­vided pri­vately and through vol­un­tary ser­vices.

As a re­sult, Hollins View Care Home, the only coun­cil-run fa­cil­ity in Mac­cles­field to of­fer respite for de­men­tia pa­tients, could close.

But Age UK Cheshire East, which op­er­ates from Mac­cles­field Hos­pi­tal and pro­vides up-to-date bed avail­abil­ity in res­i­den­tial care fa­cil­i­ties across the town, says char­i­ties are al­ready stretched try­ing to sup­port the grow­ing prob­lem of de­men­tia care.

Made­lyn Bridge added: “Hollins View cur­rently has 32 beds used for short term respite or emer­gency cases, and if it closes there will be no pro­vi­sion for those in cri­sis.”

Un­der other rec­om­men­da­tions in the com­mis­sion­ing plan, which was backed by Cheshire East’s cabi­net at a meet­ing last month, other ser­vices in­clud­ing day and home care could also be trans­ferred to the in­de­pen­dent sec­tor.

The coun­cil says the changes will widen choice and put de­men­tia suf­fer­ers and car­ers in con­trol. But Made­lyn says that with­out the in­fra­struc­ture to sup­port choice, older peo­ple will have none at all. She added: “Lack of res­i­den­tial care home places is also a long term is­sue and one that is not be­ing ad­dressed by the coun­cil’s cur­rent plans. The cru­cial is­sue re­mains that there is no ca­pac­ity in the pri­vate sec­tor. And pri­vate care costs around 40 per cent more than the rate the coun­cil pays so, un­less you are very dis­ad­van­taged, most peo­ple who qual­ify for this fi­nan­cial sup­port will have to ‘top up’ to get the care they need.

“We are very con­cerned about the lack of af­ford­able res­i­den­tial care places in our town as our own fig­ures show a steep rise in de­mand.

“The prob­lem is too large for any one en­tity to tackle alone, all agen­cies and care providers need to work to­gether to de­liver the so­lu­tion.”

Cheshire East has an es­ti­mated 5,402 res­i­dents aged over 65 liv­ing with de­men­tia, and it’s pre­dicted that will reach 6,710 by 2020. There are also 4,500 car­ers who sup­port those with de­men­tia in the bor­ough.

Coun­cil­lor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Coun­cil cabi­net mem­ber in charge of health and adult care ser­vices, said: “The coun­cil’s de­men­tia plan will pro­vide ser­vices in the com­mu­nity which pro­vide ad­vice, in­for­ma­tion and early help so peo­ple can be sup­ported in find­ing the right help in the right place and at the right time.

“The in­crease in ser­vice pro­vi­sion, tar­geted at peo­ple with de­men­tia and their car­ers, will pro­vide a range of op­tions – some of which have, to date, not been avail­able and to which we aim to add over the com­ing years.

“The avail­abil­ity of beds within the Mac­cles­field area is un­der­stood and, at this point in time, cur­rent avail­abil­ity is lower than usual due to a num­ber of fac­tors. The sit­u­a­tion is unusual and is not an­tic­i­pated to be a long-term prob­lem.

“Some peo­ple find them­selves, or their families, look­ing for a care­home bed in a cri­sis or when leav­ing hos­pi­tal. Clearly, this makes it dif­fi­cult to plan for the pre­ferred home of choice and this does on oc­ca­sion re­sult in peo­ple find­ing a home out­side of their pre­ferred area.

“Go­ing for­ward, the coun­cil wishes to re­as­sure cus­tomers and their families that we will not take any de­ci­sions to change ex­ist­ing ser­vices be­fore a for­mal con­sul­ta­tion has taken place – and, sub­ject to the out­come of the con­sul­ta­tion, only when ro­bust al­ter­na­tive pro­vi­sion is in place.”

The coun­cil launched a for­mal con­sul­ta­tion over the plans on Mon­day in which Hollins View ser­vice users will be of­fered one-to-one ses­sions with so­cial work­ers and coun­cil of­fi­cers.

●● Hollins View Care Home is the only coun­cil-run ser­vice to of­fer respite for de­men­tia pa­tients

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