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Coronavirus: Health trust takes beds at Ravenhill nursing home to cope with demand

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Ravenhill Private Nursing Home

Ravenhill Private Nursing Home

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Ravenhill Private Nursing Home

A Greenisland nursing home earmarked for closure is to remain open after a health trust took over a number of beds in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust said Paul McGranaghan, the owner of Ravenhill Private Nursing Home near Carrickfergus, had agreed to keep the home open as part of contingency measures over the next several months.

The trust has also approached other private nursing homes in the sector but did not reveal how many beds have been secured.

A spokesperson emphasised that the trust is not taking over the home but said due to the coronavirus, there would be a need for a number of beds during the pandemic and in the aftermath.

They said: "The trust is working closely with Ravenhill Nursing Home, and other independent providers, to secure the availability of beds to support our contingency plans as we deal with coronavirus.

"We would place on record our thanks to all providers for working with us as we deal with this unprecedented challenge."

Family members and friends are now unable to visit care homes for fear of infecting older residents and those with underlying health conditions who are more susceptible to dying from the virus.

Ravenhill Private Nursing Home has 36 single rooms and one shared room, 31 of which are ensuite. It is registered for a maximum of 38 residents.

It also has facilities including communal rooms, gardens and lounges.

There had been 36 people living at the home up until its closure was announced. It's thought the Northern Trust had aimed to move all residents within a month.

Earlier in March, owner Mr McGranaghan told residents in a meeting that he had been trying to sell the home for two years and told staff it had been struggling financially for four years.

The home overlooks Belfast Lough in Greenisland where properties can fetch in excess of £500,000.

Speaking at the time, a spokesperson for Ravenhill Private Nursing Home said: "It is with great sadness and regret that we have taken the decision to announce the closure of Ravenhill Private Nursing Home in Greenisland.

"We have strived to provide the highest level of care over the years and are working closely with the Northern Trust to support patients and their families during the transition period which is our priority.

"We would like to thank all our staff who have worked tirelessly and diligently in providing care to our patients and we are supporting them during this time.

"The fundamental reasons that have resulted in the closure of the home have been the well documented lack of funding in the healthcare sector, coupled with a critical shortage of nursing staff in Northern Ireland.

"This has led to an over reliance on inflated agency staff costs that are unsustainable."

The nursing home did not respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Belfast Telegraph