Burnley care home could be set to close

Lancashire County Council is beginning a consultation on a proposal to close a care home in Burnley.
Lower Ridge Care Home, Belvedere Road, Burnley.Lower Ridge Care Home, Belvedere Road, Burnley.
Lower Ridge Care Home, Belvedere Road, Burnley.

The 12-week consultation, concerning Lower Ridge Care Home in Belvedere Road, begins on Monday, April 23rd, and will give residents, their families, staff and other interested parties the opportunity to have their say via the county council's website or in writing.

The proposal was agreed at the cabinet meeting on Thursday following concerns about the poor condition of the building and low occupancy rates at the home.

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Lower Ridge, one of 18 county council-run homes, has the capacity to accommodate 35 people. However, at the beginning of April only 19 residents were using the service.

The home was opened in 1967 and is in a poor structural condition, which is getting worse over time.

County Coun. Graham Gooch, Cabinet member for adult services, said: "Our staff at Lower Ridge do a great job and the service currently has a 'Good' CQC rating based on its last inspection in 2016.

"However, fewer and fewer people are using the service and it now has a typical occupancy rate of only 65% compared to 94% for other county council care homes.

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"The building itself is becoming dilapidated and is in a poor structural condition. Surveys have revealed that the home is now getting beyond repair.

"It has a poor layout, which is not suitable for a modern care home. The bedrooms do not have en-suite facilities and are all on the second floor, meaning residents typically find it difficult to access them. The lounge and living areas are very cramped.

"We've spoken to prospective and current residents and their families, and from what they've told us we believe the low occupancy rate is a reflection of the state of the building, particularly the living accommodation.

"Given the low numbers using the service, the condition of the building and the spare capacity at other local homes we believe the best option is to close Lower Ridge.

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"However, we need to give residents, GPs, Burnley Borough Council, the CQC, local NHS and other organisations the opportunity to share their views before we make a decision."

Residents, their families and staff were all invited to a meeting to discuss the proposals on Thursday.

There are currently 28 other CQC registered homes with 80 spare care home beds in Burnley. There are six county council-run homes with 14 spare places within 12 miles of Lower Ridge, the nearest being 3.7 miles away.

County Councillor Gooch added: "If Lower Ridge closes, we're confident there will be enough places in local care homes to accommodate everyone affected.

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"There would be a sensitively managed relocation programme for residents with the welfare of everyone involved being paramount.

"All residents and their families would be given a reasonable choice of which home to move to and would be supported by a social worker throughout the process.

"The final decision as to whether to close the building will be taken in August after the consultation has finished."

People will be able to have their say or find out more about the consultation at www.lancashire.gov.uk/haveyoursay