Dementia patients forced to move home

St John's Care Home in Hundens Lane Darlington, which is due to close in October.

St John's Care Home in Hundens Lane Darlington, which is due to close in October.

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Health & Education Editor

SEVENTEEN elderly patients with dementia or other mental health issues will have to be found new homes after the NHS decided it could no longer afford to keep their under-occupied care home open.

The closure of the 24-bed St John’s Care Home in Hundens Lane, Darlington, which had seven unoccupied rooms, will also mean that 38 staff are looking for new jobs.

While the charity which runs the care home has said every effort will be made to find staff new jobs at other care homes, it said redundancies seemed inevitable.

Patients, family members and staff were told about the closure plans on Thursday (August 21).

The youngest resident is aged 65 while the oldest is 97. Some had been living there for years.

Darlington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have been paying the charity Community Integrated Care (CIC) to run St John’s Care Home for the last few years.

But following changes to the way continuing NHS care is funded, the CCG decided it could no longer justify funding the under-occupied home.

Following discussions, CIC agreed that the only alternative was to close St John’s.

In a joint statement Darlington CCG and CIC said: “Unfortunately, St John’s can no longer offer the standard of living environment expected in a modern care home.

"Local people have a choice of many newer, more flexible homes and this has meant that demand for the service at St John’s has steadily fallen in recent years, creating many vacancies.

“St John’s has, for some time, been subsidised by CIC and the changes to funding now make this arrangement completely unsustainable to the charity in the long-term.

“After very serious consideration, we have reached the difficult decision that we can no longer continue to operate the service at St John’s and the home will close on October 31, 2014.

"We have spent a long time looking at every alternative option, with the best interests of residents and staff in mind, but there are simply no viable options available to us.”

“The wellbeing of residents is absolutely paramount and we will do everything possible ensure that the move to their new homes a smooth, positive and successful one.

"We are committed to working in close partnership to manage with this situation in the most sensitive and well-planned way possible for residents, their loved ones and staff.”

Comments (5)

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10:05am Sat 23 Aug 14

emily1964 says...

After having such a personal connection with st johns I feel obliged to speak out about some of the "facts" stated above! First of all, as it is made more then clear that st johns is "under-occupied" may I first point out that this is down to CIC's own desicion 10 month ago to no longer take any new residents, even though..as it always has been..demand for the un-occupied beds has been high! This is probably due to the fact that not only is st johns welcoming, with its spacious and light interior, it boasts mod-cons throughout, with every room having it's own en-suite, but also every CQC Inspection report from st johns has exceeded all expectations (as can be found online) , and safe guarding and abuse allegations are practically zero in the 20 plus years st johns has been operating, but I believe the main reason st johns has such the outstanding reputation that it has, has nothing to do with reports or figures, but to do with the staff, who dont just "do their job" but instead make every resident and relative feel like they are all part of one big family. I do hope that the editors and staff at the northern echo and fellow tabloids give families the opportunity to speak out about this devastating desicion and the traumatic effect it is already having on them and their loved ones.
After having such a personal connection with st johns I feel obliged to speak out about some of the "facts" stated above! First of all, as it is made more then clear that st johns is "under-occupied" may I first point out that this is down to CIC's own desicion 10 month ago to no longer take any new residents, even though..as it always has been..demand for the un-occupied beds has been high! This is probably due to the fact that not only is st johns welcoming, with its spacious and light interior, it boasts mod-cons throughout, with every room having it's own en-suite, but also every CQC Inspection report from st johns has exceeded all expectations (as can be found online) , and safe guarding and abuse allegations are practically zero in the 20 plus years st johns has been operating, but I believe the main reason st johns has such the outstanding reputation that it has, has nothing to do with reports or figures, but to do with the staff, who dont just "do their job" but instead make every resident and relative feel like they are all part of one big family. I do hope that the editors and staff at the northern echo and fellow tabloids give families the opportunity to speak out about this devastating desicion and the traumatic effect it is already having on them and their loved ones. emily1964
  • Score: 24

10:12am Sat 23 Aug 14

Christine McCallum says...

My mother is a resident of this home, the staff are a committed team of health care professionals who go the extra mile to provide the very best of care for all the residents of St Johns.

We are now having to look at other care provision when the jewel of a care provider is being forced to close. The care commissioning group need to review why the home is under occupied. The home is never advertised, other care providers are probably cheaper, do the feelings and the well being of the residents really matter What St Johns offers is a secure, intimate and friendly environment where residents and their families feel secure in the knowledge that the quality of life the people who live their is the best it can be all thanks to the staff. My 97 year old mother, blind, partially deaf, immobile and suffering from vascular dementia will now have to get used to another set of carers a new routine and a new environment.
Going older in Darlington, one question - Murray Rose would you want this for your parent/s. I think not.
Warn everyone who have elderly parents you will have very little control over how they are treated when they are frail and in need of tender loving care.
It feels that my mother is in a game of pass the parcel.
Christine McCallum
My mother is a resident of this home, the staff are a committed team of health care professionals who go the extra mile to provide the very best of care for all the residents of St Johns. We are now having to look at other care provision when the jewel of a care provider is being forced to close. The care commissioning group need to review why the home is under occupied. The home is never advertised, other care providers are probably cheaper, do the feelings and the well being of the residents really matter What St Johns offers is a secure, intimate and friendly environment where residents and their families feel secure in the knowledge that the quality of life the people who live their is the best it can be all thanks to the staff. My 97 year old mother, blind, partially deaf, immobile and suffering from vascular dementia will now have to get used to another set of carers a new routine and a new environment. Going older in Darlington, one question - Murray Rose would you want this for your parent/s. I think not. Warn everyone who have elderly parents you will have very little control over how they are treated when they are frail and in need of tender loving care. It feels that my mother is in a game of pass the parcel. Christine McCallum Christine McCallum
  • Score: 26

5:44pm Sat 23 Aug 14

mcshona says...

My nanna currently lives here, she is blind and suffers from Alzheimer's along with other issues.
She has been living at this care home for 2 years, believe it or not we really struggled to find a place that would accept her and her Alzheimer related issues and St Johns would, so we as a family were delighted.
We as a family are heartbroken,not just for my nanna but the other 16 elderly mentally impaired people who live there, many of whom were participants in WW2 !!!!!
My nanna worked in the munitions factory in Aycliffe during the war whilst my granddad (her husband) fought, he lost his arm, was missing in action for some time and my nanna received the dreaded telegram advising it was likely that he had been killed in action and now this country cant afford to pay for her care, what is wrong with this world !!!!!!!
I also feel sad for the many staff there, who have been brilliant looking after my nanna, although I'm sure they wont find it as difficult as us to find another place.
Is this how elderly people should be treated in 2014 !!!!!!!!
My nanna currently lives here, she is blind and suffers from Alzheimer's along with other issues. She has been living at this care home for 2 years, believe it or not we really struggled to find a place that would accept her and her Alzheimer related issues and St Johns would, so we as a family were delighted. We as a family are heartbroken,not just for my nanna but the other 16 elderly mentally impaired people who live there, many of whom were participants in WW2 !!!!! My nanna worked in the munitions factory in Aycliffe during the war whilst my granddad (her husband) fought, he lost his arm, was missing in action for some time and my nanna received the dreaded telegram advising it was likely that he had been killed in action and now this country cant afford to pay for her care, what is wrong with this world !!!!!!! I also feel sad for the many staff there, who have been brilliant looking after my nanna, although I'm sure they wont find it as difficult as us to find another place. Is this how elderly people should be treated in 2014 !!!!!!!! mcshona
  • Score: 11

2:41pm Sun 24 Aug 14

hogworth says...

No comment from our M.P. about this? Why?
No comment from our M.P. about this? Why? hogworth
  • Score: 1

6:48pm Sun 24 Aug 14

loan_star says...

hogworth wrote:
No comment from our M.P. about this? Why?
Probably because Darlington and Durham councils, both Labour, have closed down old peoples home too so it would be hypocritical of them to question the decision.
[quote][p][bold]hogworth[/bold] wrote: No comment from our M.P. about this? Why?[/p][/quote]Probably because Darlington and Durham councils, both Labour, have closed down old peoples home too so it would be hypocritical of them to question the decision. loan_star
  • Score: 1

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