DOZENS of residents may have to spend at least another two months in a Clogher care home that has been condemned as ‘one of the worst in Northern Ireland’.
There are approximately 76 residents at the Valley Nursing Home which was ordered to close last week after failing a series of inspections conducted by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA).
The Health and Social Care Board has said it will be aiming to ensure ‘regional and local co-ordination’ in the process of relocating those currently residing in the home.
However, MPS Care Group, the company which runs the home, does have the right to appeal the RQIA’s recommendation to cancel its registration.
But no final decision on the relocation of residents is expected to be taken until any appeal process is concluded – which could take at least two months.
The company has 28 days to appeal the RQIA decision and it could take at least another 28 days for the appeal process to be completed.
The company has yet to state whether it intends to make an appeal.
In the meantime, Valley Nursing Home says it continues to be committed to providing the highest level of care to its residents. Management says they are working closely with the Southern and Western Trusts as well as the RQIA to deal with the matters of concern. Three separate visits to the home in December once again identified significant concerns.
These were in regard to the management and governance arrangements, the health and welfare of residents, the management of infection prevention and control and the internal environment.
Earlier inspections in July had also highlighted concerns, and led to the home being described by the chief executive of the RQIA, Olive McLeod, as “one of the worst we have seen.”
In a statement, a spokesperson for the Health and Social Care Board said it is working closely with colleagues in the Southern and Western Health Trusts and the RQIA over the re-location of the 76 residents.
“The continued well-being of those who live in the Valley Care Home will be the priority should any future move to alternative care arrangements be needed,” they added.
“The Board recognises that this is an unsettling time for those that live at the Valley and will work with them and their families to support them over the coming weeks and months.
“The HSCB is committed to ensuring that there is clear, regular communication with those that live at the Valley Nursing Home and their families to address any concerns which they may have.”
Mid-Ulster SDLP councillor, Sharon McAleer, expressed the hope that suitable new accommodation would be provided if required.
“This is an extremely worrying time for the residents and their families and the hope of everyone will be that, if new accommodation is required, then it will be as suitable as possible,” she said.
“The residents of the Valley Nursing Home will have become accustomed to their surroundings and the disruption which would be cause if there is any change to that has to be acknowledged.”
Sinn Féin MLA and spokesperson for Carers,’ Colm Gildernew, said that dozens of residents with complex needs now faced the possibility of moving home due to what he described as “abject mismanagement and negligence.”
“Consideration may also be given to the possibility of bringing the home under Trust control to ensure an appropriate and dignified standard of care for all residents,” he added.
“I have made contact with the RQIA concerning the move and have asked both the Western and Southern Health Trusts to ensure the residents’ care needs are met.”