Social Work managers have been given the green light to investigate leasing the Hunterhill Care Home to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde in a move designed to plug a crucial gap in existing services.

The proposal was approved today at a meeting of Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board,

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of the Social Work, Health and Wellbeing Policy Board, said, “Our business is providing care and the needs of our population are changing.

Currently we don’t have any facilities in Renfrewshire which provide continuing care for very frail older people or for a smaller group of young people with physical disabilities who need NHS continuing care.

“Continuing care is where people have complex medical conditions which need substantial, ongoing care, usually provided by nursing staff.

Continuing care was previously provided at Dykebar Hospital in Paisley. A number of wards had to close at short notice when asbestos was discovered in the building. This led to a significant number of very frail, vulnerable Renfrewshire residents being transferred to the Mansionhouse Unit in Glasgow.

Cllr McMillan said, “Many of the residents transferred from Dykebar Hospital have trouble getting out of bed without help, suffer from severe dementia and are physically unwell.

These proposals mean we will be able to bring these residents home and provide the high dependency care they need here in Renfrewshire.”

Robert Calderwood, Chief Executive, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said, “In 2012 wards at Dykebar Hospital were temporarily moved after material which contains asbestos was found during refurbishment work.

“This temporary move was made to enable us to fully assess the options available and a detailed option appraisal confirms the building could not be made safe.

“We have been working in partnership with Renfrewshire Council on options to transfer these beds back to Renfrewshire and an opportunity to transfer these beds to one of Renfrewshire Council’s residential care homes is to be considered by the Board.”

Councillor McMillan said, “Leasing the HunterHill Care Home to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde will possibly involve relocating existing residents to one or other of our other two state-of-the-art care homes. I fully understand and appreciate the concerns that residents and their families have about these proposed changes but I assure them that residents will continue to receive the highest quality care. Any move will be planned over a period of months and we will work hard to ensure it is as comfortable as possible.

“Residents’ needs will be fully reviewed and they will be given a choice of where they wish to go, in terms of the facilities which best meet these needs.

“The Care Inspectorate has rated all our care homes good, very good or excellent. If the proposal is also agreed by NHS Greater Glasgow Clyde, we will work together to develop the option.”

There is a growing demand for high dependency places for very elderly people. Dementia is a growing problem which affects around 30% of all men over 90 years old and over 44% of women over 90.

Councillor McMillan said, “Creating this new service will mean that we will be able to meet the full spectrum of needs for older people in Renfrewshire from residential care homes to continuing care.

“Figures from the Scottish Care Home Census show that the proportion of older people in residential and nursing care with a medical diagnosis of dementia has doubled between 2003 and 2013.

“Our aim is to work with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to provide as much support as possible for vulnerable people. We have been very successful in helping older people to live independently at home for longer.

“However, the way we provide care for older people has to change so that we are properly equipped to deal with more complex cases. This means we have to move away from providing traditional residential care home places and increase the number of specialist dementia and nursing care places that are available.”

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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