Belfast Telegraph

PSNI probe into elderly residential home that's set to close

By Donna Deeney

Police are investigating allegations of inappropriate care at a Londonderry residential nursing home which is due to close within a few weeks.

The investigation, which has been ongoing for some time and is nearing completion, only came to light as the Board of the Sisters of Nazareth home announced it was shutting the St Oliver's unit.

Meanwhile, the family of one resident vowed to fight the move.

The exact nature of the investigation remains confidential. A police spokesman said: “The PSNI has conducted an investigation into allegations of inappropriate care at a home in Derry. The investigation is in the latter stages.”

The Bishop Street home is an independent facility. But many residents at St Oliver's are referred from the Western Trust which, after being made aware of the probe, halted referrals.

A Western Trust spokesman said: “The trust can confirm that placements in Nazareth House are currently suspended pending the conclusion of an investigation into care practices.”

Lorcan Doherty's father Larry (82) is among residents affected.

The family only heard news of the closure second-hand but they are vowing to fight any attempt to transfer their father.

Mr Doherty said: “My sister went to visit our father and it was him who said the unit was closing, but because he has dementia, she went to speak with the staff in case he was getting things mixed up and that was how our family found out that they want my father out of there in four weeks.

“We are of the opinion that after January, the board have been out to close the unit because it is a residential home and not a nursing home, but we have never had any issue with the way our father has been looked after — quite the opposite, in fact.

“My father worked for 50 years and paid all his taxes and contributions during those years and deserves now to be treated a lot better than this.”

As well as the residents, the closure will affect up to 40 staff.

A spokesman for the Sisters of Nazareth added: “We will be reviewing our current staffing requirements. We will ensure that we fully brief all of our current employees as we move forward with this process.”

A spokeswoman for the Trust said: “The tust understands that the management of Nazareth House have taken a decision to temporarily vacate the St Oliver’s Unit in the home, and Trust staff will be available to residents and their families to support them through the transition.”

Background

The Nazareth House in Bishop Street is an independent residential nursing care home. It is owned by the Sisters of Nazareth but a board of directors runs the facility which caters for approximately 40 residents. It is a long-term home offering care but does not have nursing home status which means it is unsuitable for elderly residents with medical needs. There are currently around 40 members of staff employed at the home.

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