Belfast Telegraph

Seven residents of shut down care home still to be rehoused

By Eamon Sweeney

Seven of the 40 residents at a Co Fermanagh care facility shut down by inspectors are still without a new home, it has emerged.

Assurances had been given that all those living at Ashbrooke Care Centre would have another place to stay by the time the order to shut the facility down passed on Thursday.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) ordered the Enniskillen facility to close on August 21 after inspection found conditions presented "a serious risk to the life, health and wellbeing" of residents.

Families had been told all 40 residents would be relocated by August 31.

However, Kieran Downey, the executive director of social work at the Western Health and Social Care Trust, yesterday confirmed that seven clients still need to be rehoused.

"Unfortunately, given the tight timescale, appropriate accommodation could not be obtained for a number of clients within the local area, which meets their individual needs," he said.

"With the health and wellbeing of the clients under our care being our utmost priority, the trust has been approved by the RQIA as the registered provider of Ashbrooke Care Centre as of September 1.

"This will enable the trust to co-ordinate the planned discharge of the remaining residents to suitable facilities, close to family and in the local community."

Relatives of those who resided at Ashbrooke had received assurances that alternative accommodation would be found for their family members before the deadline for closure passed.

Yesterday RQIA reiterated that the facility will shut once all of its residents are provided with alternative accommodation.

Inspectors reacted swiftly to close the home after finding serious issues.

Equipment was dirty, patients were unwashed and suffering weight loss and there was a strong smell of faeces and urine, the inspection found.

RQIA chief executive Olive Macleod said that it was the first time the RQIA had closed a home since it was founded in 2005.

The owners of Ashbrooke House, Runwood Homes, said it had not been given prior notification of the inspection and cited a previous examination in May which concluded there was safe delivery of care.

Yesterday Runwood Homes said it intended to appeal the decision to close the facility.

Gavin O'Hare Connolly, group operations director of Runwood Homes, said: "Runwood Homes intends to lodge an appeal against the RQIA decision to close the home next week, but we anticipate that the appeal process could take several months."

Ms Macleod said the ongoing safety and wellbeing of residents at Ashbrooke was of paramount importance to the RQIA.

"In order to facilitate the managed placement of the remaining residents at Ashbrooke, the RQIA has registered the Western Trust to manage a small number of residential care places at this home, for an interim period," MsMacleod said.

"This registration will cease and the home will close when the remaining residents are placed in alternative accommodation," she added.

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