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Care home forced to close its doors – leaving residents in turmoil

Written by on 12/08/2020

Residents at a care home in Cheshire have left in turmoil, after the coronavirus pandemic forced it to suddenly close its doors.

Ryan Care Residential, a small family run business in Runcorn, housed 15 people, but after losing five residents to coronavirus, the home was unable to fill the vacant beds.

The local authority stepped in to financially support the home, but its COVID-19 funding stopped after only three weeks – giving owners no other option but to close the home.

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Residents are being moved into new accommodation, but for many of them, leaving the home’s close-knit community is going to be difficult.

“It’s been pretty traumatic”, Elaine Hughes, whose mother was at the home, told the Sky News Daily podcast.

Ms Hughes’ mother has dementia, and will now be moved to another home in the area.

She said: “My mum’s been in this home for about seven-and-a-half years now, so she’s settled, she knows all the staff there – they’re her familiar faces.

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“The fact that she’s having to move where she’s not going to know anyone, we’re not going to know anyone. We’ve not been able to go into the new care home that’s she been assigned to, just to even have a look around. It’s not very pleasant.”

“We just want her to be in this care home.”

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Rachel Barry, the home’s manager and co-owner, told the Sky News Daily podcast that despite the home abruptly closing, she was very proud of what they had achieved there.

“We’ve put a lot of hard work in – tears, anger, sweat, everything – into the business. I call it a business but it’s our lives… an extended family,” she said.

“COVID-19 was the turning point for us. We did really well all the way through but towards the end of May we did get the virus in the home.”

Ms Barry said the home exhausted its waiting list, but were unable to fill the vacant beds, meaning social workers had to step and help residents find new places to live.

A spokesperson for Halton Borough Council told Sky News: “The financial support package for homes was reviewed and the support to fund vacant beds was discontinued.

“Homes remain able to gain financial support from the Infection Control Grant and claim for COVID-related expenditure.

“This situation has highlighted the historic lack of investment in the sector and the detrimental effects of the economic climate and COVID-19.”

The spokesperson said the council’s priority was to secure alternative homes for Ryan Care residents, and that it was also looking to help staff there find new jobs within the sector.

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A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise that this unprecedented pandemic has created some significant challenges for care homes, staff, residents and families.

“£3.7bn has been available to local authorities to address pressures on local services, including in adult social care and a further £600m ring-fenced for adult social care to help reduce the infection rate in care homes.

“We expect local authorities to ensure funding reaches the frontline where it is needed most. We will also bring forward a plan that puts social care on a sustainable footing to ensure the reforms last long into the future.”

:: You can listen to the full story of Ryan Care Residential in Wednesday’s Sky News Daily podcast

 Sky News

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