Resident ‘distressed’ at home closure plans

THE relative of an elderly resident at Lisgarel care home in Larne has said the closure of the facility would be a “major loss” to older people living in the borough.

With plans to shut the facility by 2016/17, the 20 residents living there on a permanent basis are now facing an uncertain future, as the Northern Health and Social Care Trust forges ahead with its controversial proposals to close all nine of their care homes.

And the concerned relative, who did not wish to be named, told the Times that her family has been left “deeply upset” by the Trust’s announcement.

She added: “My aunt, who is in her 80s, has called Lisgarel her home for the past three years and she is very happy there. She receives the best possible care and, like every resident there, she has her own room.

“In terms of alternatives, I understand there are 29 places in local private sector care homes, but only seven of those places offer single rooms; the rest are shared.

“When she found out that her home was likely going to be closed down, she was distressed at the news. She is concerned about the prospect of having to find a new place to live.

“While my aunt doesn’t have any serious health problems, she would not be suitable to go into supported housing because of her particular needs, so living in Lisgarel is perfect for her. The staff and residents at Lisgarel are like her extended family, and so to be torn away from that would be very difficult for her.”

The relative praised the standard of care at Lisgarel and added: “I haven’t got a bad word to say about the facility, and I know most people in the town hold Lisgarel in very high regard. It is something the people of Larne can be proud of.

“So I have to ask, why exactly has the Trust decided to close it down? It is providing an excellent service to older people in the Larne area.”

The Trust have now launched a consultation process into the proposals, but the worried relative fears the closure of Lisgarel is already “a done deal”.

She added: “I really think the consultation is just a box-ticking exercise for the Trust, and I am not sure it will do much to change their decision at the end of the day.

“Having said that, I still believe that everyone in the borough who objects to the closure of Lisgarel should make their voices heard as part of the consultation.

“We have nothing to lose by taking part and telling the Trust why we believe the facility should be retained.”