Dungannon family surprised by Valley Nursing Home closure threat
A Dungannon man whose brother has been a long-term resident at a nursing home branded one of the worst in Northern Ireland said his family is shocked by the health regulator's decision to impose a closure notice.
Valley Nursing Home in Clogher, Co Tyrone will shut soon unless the owners can successfully prove to the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) that the home is safe.
In the meantime, health bosses need to find alternative accommodation for the 75 people currently living there.
Donal Cullen (62) has been a patient for five years. His brother Gerry said: "He was a seriously ill man when admitted to Craigavon Area Hospital in 2014 and after it was explained to us what his needs were going to be, Valley care home was the only one capable and willing to take him.
"They made a promise to our family to give him the best care and nurse him back to some sort of health, and the quality of life he enjoys today is testimony to the dignified and professional care he has received over the past five years.
"The staff at the care home have the full support of the Cullen family. We do not recognise the home as the one portrayed over the past two days."
Mr Cullen said it came "as a total surprise to the families of those resident there that it is now being called one of the worst in Northern Ireland. As a family, we simply can't see where that has come from".
He said many of the families are now "fearful of what will now happen to their relatives".
It's understood families of residents have agreed to appoint a family representative to deal with the ongoing issues resulting from the closure notice.
Valley Nursing Home said it was committed to providing the highest level of care to its residents "and continues to do so".
It said the home had achieved full compliance with previously issued failure-to-comply notices as of October 16.
"We are continually working closely with the Southern and Western Trusts as well as the RQIA through these matters of concern," it added. "We would like to take this opportunity to give the residents, their relatives, our staff within the home and the wider community the reassurance that there is full commitment during this process."
On Tuesday, RQIA chief Olive Macleod said Valley Nursing Home had been inspected on 10 occasions "and we're not seeing a sustained improvement. In fact, we are seeing a deterioration".
She described it as "one of the worst homes we have seen in Northern Ireland".