| 7.5°C Belfast

Woman who sold house to move into Ravenhill care home was told it would not be closing


Ravenhill Private Nursing Home

Ravenhill Private Nursing Home

Ravenhill Private Nursing Home

An 84-year-old woman living in a nursing home earmarked for closure has said she moved there three months ago after she was told its future was safe.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said she is furious that she was given reassurances in October that Ravenhill Private Nursing Home would remain open.

She is currently in the process of completing the sale of her family home, where she lived for 65 years, after making the decision to move to Ravenhill.

It comes after the owner of the home, Paul McGranaghan, told residents in a meeting last Thursday evening that he has been trying to sell the home for two years.

Staff working at the home, which overlooks Belfast Lough in Greenisland where properties can fetch in excess of £500,000, have also said Mr McGranaghan told them it has been struggling financially for four years.

A spokesman for Ravenhill has said the decision to close the home has been made "with great sadness and regret".

However, the 84-year-old lady who now faces the difficult process of finding alternative accommodation, said: "My situation is pretty awful.

"I have already made arrangements to stay here long term, so I am furious that this has happened.

"This is an exceptional nursing home but when I was considering coming here, I asked about the rumours that the home was closing and I was told by management they would look into them.

"They came back to me and said they knew nothing about them and I would be all right.

"It really is a disgraceful situation that we have all found ourselves in, the staff and residents, I feel very let down by the system.

"I am more or less homeless and I am very, very angry."

Meanwhile, the wife of another resident sobbed as she spoke of her terror that her husband will not survive the trauma of moving.

Ann Kelly was distraught as she described her devastation at the prospect of finding a new home for her 81-year-old husband, Jim, who has dementia.

"He has been here for nearly three years and I thought this was going to be his home for the rest of his life," she said.

"It is a heart-breaking decision to have to put your husband in a nursing home, but I was glad that he settled in Ravenhill and the staff and care have been wonderful.

"Now we have to start all over again and I'm not even sure we will get him a place because we have been told there aren't enough available places for the number of residents at the home.

"The letter we got calling us to a meeting was so impersonal, it was addressed to resident/relative.

"It's been horrific, it's devastating, the way we've been treated is shameless and I just hope that the move doesn't kill him."

Meanwhile, a care assistant has said she left a full-time job after responding to an advert to work at the home several weeks ago.

"I only started working here on Monday and then we were told on Thursday that the home was closing," she said.

"Paul said he has known for two weeks that the home was going to have to close, so why let me leave a job to come and work here and tell me on my second shift that I'm losing my job?"

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."

Announcing the closure of the home on Thursday, Mr McGranaghan reportedly gave an assurance that it will remain open until all residents are rehomed.

However, it is understood that the Northern Trust intends to move all residents within a month.

Staff have claimed there may be as few as 21 available places in the trust for the 36 people currently living at the home.

The Northern Trust has not commented on the claims, but has said it is working hard with residents, families and home staff to facilitate the transfer of residents to appropriate alternative accommodation.

A petition calling for the Health Minister to halt the closure of the home has attracted more than 1,750 signatures in a matter of days. It is available by logging on to www.change.org and searching for Robin Swann Save Ravenhill Nursing Home.

Belfast Telegraph