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Over my dead body, says resident fighting plan to rehome him after care home closes

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 20/01/2016

Leslie Wallace
Leslie Wallace
Four Seasons Donaghcloney Care Home

A despairing 79-year-old man with Parkinson's Disease who is being moved out of a Co Down care home that is shutting down has warned he will only be forced out over his dead body.

Leslie Wallace is one of six residents still living at the Four Seasons Donaghcloney Care Home just outside Banbridge.

His family must find him a new home within weeks as the facility is closing at the end of February.

But he told his relatives and the home's management that a move to another care facility will be "over my dead body".

Now Mr Wallace's family fear that the turmoil of leaving the home will be too much for their father, who has advanced Parkinson's disease and fractured hips.

Three more residents will leave the home by the end of this week, leaving Mr Wallace as one of three still to relocate.

Last night he told the Belfast Telegraph: "All this business has really upset me. I told them all that I didn't want to go, that it was too much for me - but what do you do about it?

"The place is closing at the end of February but they haven't got a place yet to suit me or my daughters. I don't want to go too far away from them.

"This home was very good and the staff were very good to me and I've just got settled here. Now I have to move."

One of Mr Wallace's daughters, Amanda Wallace-Plews, said that her father had been living in Donaghcloney Care Home since last summer.

She added: "My father told the social worker last Monday that he wasn't leaving and he meant it. But the system really has bullied him to leave.

"He's been told that he's not staying and that's just the way it's going to be.

"He's not impressed at all. They have tried to find buyers for some of the other homes to keep them open, but it seems like they are throwing Donaghcloney to the wolves."

Four Seasons Health Care said last November that it was closing seven of its care homes in Northern Ireland because they were no longer financially viable.

The decision impacted on 254 patients and 393 staff.

Alternative home care providers were found to take over three of the threatened homes, but Donaghcloney, Victoria Park and Stormont in Belfast will close by the end of next month.

A consultation process on the proposed closure of the Garvagh care home is set to begin after it failure to be taken under new management.

A spokesman for Four Seasons Health Care said: "We regret the upset caused by the closure of any of our homes.

"These homes were simply financially unsustainable and therefore the process of consultation with residents, families and the relevant authorities was undertaken.

"We are in ongoing contact with Mr Wallace and his family with a view to identifying suitable alternative accommodation as Donaghcloney home prepares for closure."

A spokesperson for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust added: "The Trust has assigned individual key workers to work closely with each of the residents and their families currently living in these facilities to ensure that they receive safe, high quality care in a suitable environment which meets their individual needs."

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