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'Under-occupied' home is to be closed

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 06, 2013

  • Athelstan House will close next month.

  • SHUTTING: The 38-bed Athelstan House has only 14 residents and there have been no new referrals for six months.

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THE Athelstan House residential home in Bodmin will close next month because there is no longer demand for the service it provides there, says Cornwall Care, the charity that runs it.

The 38-bed home's 14 residents have been told Athelstan will close in early December because it has had no referrals of new residents for six months.

There are 38 staff in total, of whom six are full time and the rest part-time. Cornwall Care says they can apply for redeployment to other homes and community services operated by the organisation.

There have been worries in recent years over the future of the nursing home.

In January of last year Cornwall Care unveiled plans to Bodmin Town Council for a new £10 million facility near Bodmin Jail, telling the council it would replace Athelstan House and create 50 jobs, but there has been no news of the development since.

Graham Murfin attacked Cornwall Care for giving him just four weeks to find a new home for his 90 year-old father, Arthur.

Mr Murfin said: "My dad has been there for 12 months, and it was a big upheaval for him to sell his house in Padstow and live at Athelstan.

"Now they are basically kicking him out and giving me just a few weeks to find somewhere else for him to live, which won't be easy.

"They moved some residents to Liskeard not long ago, and I think that was deliberate so they could justify closing the Bodmin care home,'' said Mr Murfin.

Cornwall Care says it is focusing on providing all the support it can to assist the residents at Athelstan and their families in making informed choices about where they would like to live.

Chief executive Douglas Webb said: "Our priority is the health and wellbeing of those in our care, and we believe this would be compromised as the number of people living at Athelstan continues to fall.

"The nature of care is changing and the decline in the need for residential homes is not a trend unique to this county. Increasingly, people are living longer in their own homes with support services and when they do need care, they require specialist nursing for complex medical conditions like dementia.

"With this in mind we have planned to expand our domiciliary services delivered in the community and build more accommodation for independent supported living and specialist nursing care.

"Athelstan is a typical example of the challenges the care sector faces. Earlier this year we transferred the nursing care residents and the nursing staff team from Bodmin to our home in Liskeard, but having reverted to purely being a residential home, Athelstan hasn't received any new resident referrals."

Staff from Cornwall Council will be visiting the home to talk individually to residents and their families about their needs.

Kim Carey, the council's corporate director of adult care, health and wellbeing, said: "We recognise that this can be a worrying time for the residents, people who use their day care service, and their families. We will be working closely with them and Cornwall Care over the coming weeks to find the best alternatives for people."

Anyone with concerns is being invited to contact the council's adult care, health and wellbeing access team on 0300 1234131.

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