Rel­a­tives shocked as trou­bled Leeds wel­fare home closes nurs­ing wing

The Jewish Chronicle - - COM­MU­NITY NEWS - BY JOHN FISHER

THIRTY PHYS­I­CALLY frail res­i­dents in the Sil­ver Lodge com­plex nurs­ing wing at cri­sis-rid­den Leeds care home Don­isthorpe Hall face an un­cer­tain fu­ture af­ter the an­nounce­ment that the wing will close at the end of Fe­bru­ary.

Don­isthorpe chiefs at­tribute the de­ci­sion to a na­tional nurs­ing short­age. Rel­a­tives of res­i­dents were in­formed in a let­ter dated Jan­uary 24. Af­ter it was sent out, An­drew Brown re­signed as Don­isthorpe’s chair­man of trustees.

Rel­a­tives ex­pressed shock and anger at a meet­ing with Don­isthorpe lead­ers on Tues­day.

Trustee Ash­ley Co­hen told them: “We re­quire 16 full-time nurses to sup­port the nurs­ing care. With Sil­ver Lodge be­ing a pre­dom­i­nantly nurs­ing en­vi­ron­ment, we be­came re­liant on agency nurses, which is a na­tion­wide prob­lem.

“It was cost­ing some £80,000 per month in agency costs, which is just un­der £1 mil­lion per year. How­ever, this cost did not en­ter our de­ci­sion to close down Sil­ver Lodge. This was only about the safety of the res­i­dents and the im­pos­si­ble task of re­cruit­ing nurses.”

He ac­knowl­edged the stress and up­set the de­ci­sion had caused.

In­for­ma­tion on va­can­cies at other care homes was pro­vided to rel­a­tives, one of whom com­plained that it was un­feel­ing to move a woman of 100.

Oth­ers feared their loved ones would be re­lo­cated to homes on the out­skirts of Leeds, mak­ing vis­it­ing more dif­fi­cult.

Naomi Ross pointed out: “When my brother came into this home, our main con­cern was that he was go­ing to re­side in a Jewish en­vi­ron­ment, which is im­por­tant to our fam­ily. And sud­denly it’s all over.”

Wendy Schofield — whose 90-yearold mother has been a res­i­dent for two years — told the JC: “My­mumhas­friends here. To move her into a strange set­ting with peo­ple who are strangers is cruel, very cruel.”

Speak­ing be­fore the meet­ing, Mr Co­hen in­sisted that life would con­tinue as nor­mal for Don­isthorpe’s other 73 res­i­dents.

“Al­though one unit is be­ing closed, it is im­por­tant to re­as­sure peo­ple that Don­isthorpe Hall will not be clos­ing down.”

At the end of Oc­to­ber, wel­fare watch­dog the Care Qual­ity Com­mis­sion gave Don­isthorpe an over­all rat­ing of in­ad­e­quate and placed it in spe­cial mea­sures. It warned that with­out suf­fi­cient im­prove­ment in six months, the CQC would “be­gin the process of pre­vent­ing the provider from op­er­at­ing the ser­vice”.

Se­nior man­age­ment are con­fi­dent Don­isthorpe will meet the CQC re­quire­ments, other than the is­sue of re­liance on agency staff.

The new trustees’ chair is Dr Robert Ross, a long-time sup­porter of the home.

To move my mum into a strange set­ting is very cruel’

PHOTO: JOHN FISHER

Don­isthorpe has been strug­gling with re­cruit­ment

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