Pilot project care home in Morecambe to close down

Altham Meadows. Morecambe.
Altham Meadows. Morecambe.
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A Morecambe care home that helps to reduce pressure on local hospitals is to close after a two-year pilot programme.

Altham Meadows first opened its doors in September 2017.

The county council-run care home supports up to 22 Morecambe residents who are well enough to leave hospital, but not yet well enough to go home. Care workers and NHS staff provide care and rehabilitation to help people regain the skills they need to live independently in their home again.

The home is run in partnership with Morecambe Bay NHS Clinical Commissioning Group. However, it has now been announced that the home will close on September 5, with some of the 35 full and part-time members of staff being redeployed within the NHS.

One concerned Guardian reader said the decision will cause problems once winter pressures set in at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

He said: “The decision has been taken without any proper thought for the patients.

“They will now either stay in hospital jamming up beds or will be discharged inappropriately. There’s a place for this sort of unit and closing it down will seriously affect patients. What will happen in winter when you get more pressure? Hospital beds will be blocked because of this.

“The sole purpose of Altham Meadows was to free up beds in acute service.”

Hilary Fordham, chief operating officer, Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, and Louise Taylor, Lancashire County Council’s executive director for adult services, health and wellbeing, have jointly said: “Unfortunately the pilot has not proved to be a success.

“This is partly due to recruitment issues with nursing staff, compounded by the national problems that are being encountered with that profession and partly due to difficulties with identifying patients who were suitable for the nursing enhanced beds, as many people can now be supported in their own homes unless they require the facilities of a general hospital.

“This has meant that the service is not viable and the difficult decision has been taken not to continue the service past the pilot phase.

“Staff from all organisations have done a good job of running the service and we will be looking to support them into other similar roles once Altham Meadows closes.

“All partners are working together to look at other ways we can ease the pressure on hospitals.”

Dolphinlee House in Lancaster provides similar rehabilitation for up to 22 people, of which 10 people have cognitive impairment such as dementia.