There was mixed news for local care homes this week as it was announced that Crozier House, Banbridge would remain open, however, Skeagh House, Dromore will be permanently closed.
The Southern Health and Social Care Trust Board announced on Thursday that Crozier House will remain open - and recommended that they should re-open to permanent admissions.
Meanwhile, it was recommended that Skeagh House in Dromore would be permanently closed.
Skeagh House has been temporarily closed since a landslip in 2013 and, the Board said that on-going legal issues are unlikely to be resolved in the short term.
The Trust has undertaken an extensive public consultation process on the five statutory residential homes within the Southern Area.
The local consultation process is part of a regional review of Statutory Residential Care which is being carried out by the Health and Social Care Board.
In agreeing the recommendations on the way forward, Trust Board members stressed that all permanent residents currently living in any of the Trust’s residential homes would be supported to live in their home as long as they choose to do so or until their needs could no longer be met within a residential care setting.
This commitment was made by the Health Minister in 2013, and while the Trust has made recommendations on the long term future of residential care, it does not change the care arrangements for current permanent residents.
The Trust Board recommendations will be forwarded to the HSCB for their consideration, and there will be no move to implement any part of them until such times as Ministerial approval has been given.
Trust Interim Chief Executive, Paula Clarke, said: “These recommendations set out a long term plan for statutory residential care in the Southern Area. We know that residents are settled within our homes, and that the quality of care is good.
“However, the ways in which older people can be supported to remain at home has developed significantly in the last few years, and will continue to develop into the future. Our recommendations are looking at residential care in the long term, and how this would best be provided.
“We are grateful to everyone who has contributed to the consultation process, for the time taken to respond, and acknowledge the depth of feeling and support for our residential homes.
“We want to reassure all permanent residents that they can remain in their homes for as long as it the best place for them.
“Our recommendations are very much focussed on the long term and we hope to work with local communities on further developing the care infrastructure and choices available to older people.”