The loss of dementia beds from a troubled Tweedbank care home does not spell the end for the facility, according to Andrew Lowe.
Scottish Borders Council’s director of social work says the move to commission eight beds in three nursing homes will meet the needs of the region’s increasing number of dementia sufferers.
Currently, all 24 places for dementia care in the Borders are situated at the 25-bed Craw Wood specialist unit, which was threatened with losing its registration in January by inspectors unless it made a series of improvements.
When asked at SBC’s social work committee meeting whether the removal of the beds from the home, run by Eildon Housing Association would result in closure, Mr Lowe said: “It doesn’t mean that at all.
“This is about strategically positioning ourselves to provide care across the Borders.
“Craw Wood remains a key asset for us and I hope this will allow Craw Wood to diversify the population they have.”
“We are moving into an era where people want to be supported closer to home.
“This strategy can give people high quality units that can provide this support.”
The three options tabled in the report by SBC’s Elaine Torrance, head of social care, included keeping Craw Wood as the sole dementia provider, commissioning another facility to provide the beds, or, the authority’s preferred choice, dividing the beds among three homes, which was backed by councillors.
However, Tweedbank councillor Jim Torrance, a former care inspector, told last Thursday’s meeting he was “very concerned” about the prospect of Craw Wood losing patients and could see problems with the new strategy.
Although reassured by Mr Lowe’s comments, Mr Torrance told us: “I am still not totally convinced about using three nursing homes for eight commissioned beds. In particular, we need to make sure there are enough trained staff.
“At the moment that is not the case. In a number of nursing homes which have received less than satisfactory reports, staffing levels have been a concern, and that is down to the financial situation. There are great staff out there in care homes but we have to make sure there are enough of them and they are properly trained.”
Mrs Torrance said in that SBC’s dementia redesign had been prompted by worries since the start of 2012 about the quality of care at Craw Wood, and thoughts that a different model was needed.
She told the meeting: “There are a number of reasons, including layout and design [of Craw Wood] and a whole range of factors which meant it was providing difficult to manage.”
Mrs Torrance added that patients having to travel long distances to Tweedbank from across the Borders was also a problem.
Jane Douglas of SBC’s social work department added that the redesign was not being made to save cash but could produce some “efficiencies”.