Closure: Big blow for Garvagh

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A Garvagh MLA says that the closure of the Four Seasons care home in the rural town is a ‘big blow’ for the area.

DUP MLA Adrian McQuillan was speaking on Friday after he visited the home, situated on the Kilrea road.

“There were tears from both staff and residents, it was a sorry sight,” said the MLA.

“This home is one of the major employers in the area, and the sad thing about the whole situation is that the staff, management and residents didn’t get any warning of the closure.”

McQuillan pointed out that the home has a dedicated dementia unit, which he says is ‘essential’ by some residents.

He is now calling on the DUP Health Minister, Simon Hamilton to make the area’s statutory care homes ‘fit for purpose’.

“Residents, like those in the Garvagh home, need more than residential care, and that’s where the fear is.

“Some families fear that their relatives will be pushed to homes too far from home, because they need this nursing care.”

Well-known Coleraine man Henry Gaile, whose 94-year-old uncle John Gaile is a resident in the Garvagh home, told The Times, ‘it’s just a waiting game’.

“At this minute in time it is just a waiting game.

“There are no beds in homes locally for residents who require nursing care.

“It’s the upheaval too. The fantastic staff in Garvagh know John and they know his ways.

“We as a family felt happy that he was there, he was well looked after by the staff, and moving to another home will be very stressful for him.”

East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden is advising local families ‘not to panic’.

She said: “The Trust has an obligation to ensure that each resident is relocated; the care home will not close until all residents have moved.

“I have been told by other local care home managers that beds will inevitably become available elsewhere. Family members should contact homes in their area to be put on the waiting list. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis, therefore it is advised that you contact more than one home.

It is also helpful to ensure that resident care plans are up to date, and if possible, a new care assessment is carried out.

“This may speed up the process of re-location. Social workers, care managers, GPs and dementia nurses can offer more advice on this.”