Concerns raised over care for dementia sufferers

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

FAMILIES with loved ones suffering from dementia have raised concerns about their transfer to a new extra care scheme.

Relatives say the new facility in Leyburn may not be suitable for the needs of people with dementia currently living at the town’s Brentwood Lodge.

North Yorkshire County Council is working with Broadacres Housing Association and Richmondshire District Council on plans for a 53-apartment extra care complex on the edge of Leyburn.

As well as self-contained apartments for independent living, the facility would include 20 one-bed units for people with dementia. Residents of Brentwood Lodge will get first refusal on the rooms.

However, Hazel Derby, of Leyburn, whose husband John has dementia and lives at Brentwood, believes the proposal has not been thought through. After attending an information event on the plans, she is worried there will be fewer staff covering more residents at the new facility.

“If there is going to be less staff, how can they look after more people, especially when they’re on two different floors? I’m also worried there is going to be no stimulus for the residents,” she said.

“I know they’ve got to save money but it’s going to be at the cost of the residents and their families.”

Another relative, whose mother is cared for at Brentwood Lodge, said her main complaint was that nobody from the county council or Broadacres had spent time at Brentwood finding out about the requirements of the dementia residents.

The woman, who asked not to be named, added: “When High Hall at Bainbridge was converted to extra care housing, the people with dementia who couldn’t cope there were moved to Brentwood Lodge. It’s difficult to see how these people are going to be accommodated at this new extra care development.”

The woman believes Brentwood should become a specialist dementia unit.

She added: “People with dementia are very vulnerable and I, and many others, feel that this new development is not going to be suitable for our relatives. We are all very worried about the future.”

The relative said she had asked to visit a dementia unit at Stokesley, but had been told “lots of mistakes” had been made at this facility which needed rectifying. In response to the concerns, North Yorkshire County Council said the new facility would include 20 onebed apartments specifically designed to support people living with dementia.

A spokesman added: “The care and support service will continue to respond to the needs of people living with dementia.

“Therefore no aspect of dementia care and support will be lost and accommodation will be improved.

“A high level of support will be given to help people to move with as little disruption and inconvenience as possible.”

The county council said it had assured Brentwood’s residents that they would not be financially disadvantaged as a result of their move.

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