A Calderdale site earmarked for closure may yet have a role to play delivering care to those who need it.
It is possible Ferney Lee care home site at Ferney Lee Road, Todmorden, could be redeveloped to house an extra care scheme, for which there is a demand in the upper Calder Valley.
Members of Calderdale Council’s Adults, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Board heard that formal consultation had now taken place with residents, family and staff who have received and provided care at Ferney Lee.
Use of intermediate short stay beds in the care home ceased in September and potential options explored for the four remaining residents, who have expressed a wish to move together.
Options in the community were being explored for this, the briefing report for councillors said.
Councillors were also told discussions had taken place with staff and voluntary severance pay had been offered which some employees had shown an interest in while others were exploring redeployment opportunities and some were shadowing posts which were vacant.
They heard it might not be the end of Ferney Lee – which last August received an assessment from national watchdog organisation Care Quality Commission of “good” (for care) with “outstanding” aspects – as a care centre in Calderdale.
Although providing good-to-outstanding care – residents and their families were unanimous in their praise of staff who frequently went beyond their role to ensure consistently high standards, said the CQC – issues with Ferney Lee largely concern the condition of the building.
Extra care schemes are aimed at older people and in Calderdale existing ones comprise self-contained flats and other facilities all under one roof, carefully designed to help older people manage in their own homes.
Next month (February) Calderdale Council’s Cabinet will receive a progress update and an options appraisal for a future model of care to be provided at Ferney Lee, board members heard.
Director of Adult Services and Wellbeing, Iain Baines, said Todmorden did not have an extra care facility at all and residents were not particularly attracted to extra care units in other parts of the borough.
Developing an extra care asset that allowed for some community access was the premise at this stage, he said.
“We are really keen and committed to making sure Todmorden has its own resource.
“We want to get people involved in the design phase, to get engaged in what it could be for Todmorden,” he said.
Coun James Baker (Lib Dem, Warley) said Todmorden’s town council could be approached to play a role and Coun Colin Hutchinson (Lab, Skircoat) asked if the existing staff could deliver extra care – with a hiatus between closure and new facilities emerging it would be a shame to lose their skills in the interim, he said.
Mr Baines said the aim was to place the staff in other caring professions within the borough, helping other providers to get the outstanding ratings Ferney Lee had received from QCQ.
“We are keen to use some of that skill, we are keen to retain that skill in-house and we will work tirelessly to do that,” he said.
The briefing papers said: “The site at Ferney Lee provides an opportunity to develop a seventh extra care scheme in Calderdale.
“A feasability study for an extra care scheme on the Ferney Lee site was originally compiled in 2017.
“This is being updated to reflect current care needs and revised costs.”
The current Ferney Lee building was outdated, with residents not having the privacy of en suite facilities.
There were also substantial issues concerning poor drainage at the building and leaking roofs, Cabinet was told last summer.
Board members heard if the scheme were to go ahead a housing partner would be sought to complete its construction.
Other potential sites in the Todmorden area had been considered but to date an alternate site had not been identified.
“There are currently 86 people in the Todmorden and Hebden Bridge area who are in receipt of homecare with a total of 1,303 hours of homecare being delivered to these people per week.
“This figure had steadily increased in recent years showing the growing demand for care and support.
“The development of an extra care scheme in Todmorden would provide an alternative to homecare and the need for people to move into residential care.
“This would offer benefits in terms of quality of life and cost as people are able to remain in their own homes for longer and extra care is more cost effective than residential and nursing care alternatives.
“The development would also provide good quality accessible accommodation allowing local people to downsize or move on from inaccessible properties,” said the papers.