A forgotten building lies a mere 200 yards from my home, almost completely hidden by a screen of brambles, nettles and rampant buddleia. It was once a care home for elderly dementia sufferers, but was suddenly closed in 2007 as a result of two consecutive very poor CSCI inspections. The twenty two residents were transferred to other accommodation in the Swindon area almost overnight and the building has been unoccupied and slowly deteriorating ever since.
Very few confirmed details are readily available about the reasons for the closure and However, it appears that it comprehensively failed an inspection in November 2006, partly because of concerns about how the staff were treating residents and partly because it did not meet several of the recently imposed health and safety requirements, such as each person having their own bathroom. Six months later, the inspectors arrived again, and were not happy with progress on the measures imposed by the previous report. They therefore deemed the home unsuitable for its residents and took the owners to court. It appears that the owners of the care home were either unwilling or unable to fund the required improvements and they applied for bankruptcy, while the residents were farmed off to any local care home which had space.
Throughout the world, the proportion of older people in society is increasing and resources are being limited. It is hard not to be aware of the difficulties we, as society, are beginning to face in securely and comfortably housing our elders. At least one in six care homes in the UK is close to bankruptcy, according to a study by Moore Stephens and while 70,000 new care home places will be required over the next 8 years, (The Lancet (2017) the rise in the National Living Wage AND Brexit are having a significant effect on the finances of care home owners and the availability of care workers. These macro level problems can be seen at the individual level in this series and ask us to question whether our older people are being treated with the respect and consideration they deserve.
Whatever happened to…..?