The son of a resident of a Huntly care home which closes this week has attacked a decision to place his 93-year-old dad in an Inverurie Hospital ward.
Michael Allan’s father, Harold Allan, who has severe dementia, will move from Huntly’s The Meadows Care Home to Inverurie Hospital’s Ashcroft Ward on Tuesday.
The Meadows, based at Burnside Road in Huntly, will close down on Wednesday after owners Care Concern Group made a last-minute decision to withdraw its registration with the Scottish Government.
The withdrawal followed a heavily critical Care Inspectorate report in early July.
Just two weeks were given to find new accommodation for relatives, many of whom suffer from late-stage dementia.
Past weeks have been a ‘nightmare’
Helped by teams from Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Michael Allan was told this week his father Harold will be able to go into a suitable care home in Stonehaven, pending an assessment and a room opening up.
But in the meantime, his father will be placed in the care of Inverurie Hospital for an unspecified length of time.
Mr Allan, 63, said the past two weeks have been a “nightmare” because he did not know what would happen to his father.
He also said moving his dad twice in a short period of time could be harmful to his state of mind.
“[Inverurie] is not his final destination,” Mr Allan said.
“He’s being moved to a hospital and will have to be moved again.
“I don’t know how we’re going to get on with him.”
“He’s plenty confused at the present time, so it’ll be difficult for him.”
Shock over Care Inspectorate report into Huntly care home The Meadows
Harold Allan moved into The Meadows Care Home in March this year after a two-year battle with dementia.
The former Kildrummy farmer was in hospital for three months before the move.
Michael Allan said he did not take the decision to put his dad in a care home lightly, as the older man had always said it was the last thing he wanted.
However, Harold enjoyed being in the home and did not complain once.
He even put on weight.
Therefore, both the Care Inspectorate report and the subsequent decision to close came as a shock.
“The care home was local to us and to me it was perfect,” Mr Allan said.
“[My dad] always said he didn’t want to go into a home, but he never once asked to get home.”
Patients with dementia at risk, report says
The Care Inspectorate declined to comment beyond what is in its July 7 report into The Meadows following an unannounced inspection.
The report contained numerous criticisms of the standard of care at the 43-bed home, including problems in the staff’s ability to respond to patients’ needs, especially those with dementia.
The report continued: “At times people were given medication for stress and distress rather than following good practice and trying other strategies first.”
Some patients who suffer from dementia were not properly supported and at times were put at risk due to lack of oversight.
Leadership was criticised, with the report noting management “did not make checking on the quality of people’s care experiences an essential part of their day-to-day work”.
Owners Care Concern Group, which operates a number of homes throughout Scotland, said it invested in improving conditions at The Meadows. But on Wednesday, August 23 it announced it will close the home on September 6.
The group had earlier been told to make improvements at The Meadows on Burnside Rd or risk its licence for the home being revoked.
Care Concern’s decision to withdraw registration from the Care Inspectorate, which oversees care homes for the Scottish Government, meant Aberdeenshire Council and families of residents were left to find alternative accommodation.
Care Concern declined to comment on previous questions from the P&J.
‘Shouldn’t I have known if there was stuff going on?’
Families the P&J spoke to echoed Mr Allan’s positive view of the home.
“I didn’t really have concerns about my mum’s well-being,” said Susan Mansfield, whose mother has been in The Meadows for more than two years.
“So I was really shocked when all this came out. You berate yourself and you think, shouldn’t I have known if there was stuff going on where people weren’t safe?”
The Dunfermline-based journalist travelled to a meeting with Aberdeenshire council care managers last Monday at Huntly’s Jubilee Hospital.
Mr Allan said he will be happy if his dad is able to eventually move to Stonehaven’s Mowat Court care home.
“Stonehaven’s not too bad,” said the handyman from Alford.
He added: “It’s been a bit of a nightmare. But the rest of the families are in the same situation, I’m not the only one.”
Last week, Caroline Logie, whose mother Phyllis Law is in The Meadows, told the P&J she was “stressed to the hilt” finding a new care home.
‘An exceptionally anxious time for families’
A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership (AHSCP) said all 40 residents at The Meadows have been placed in alternative accommodation.
The spokesperson declined to give details on how many have been placed in hospital wards at this time.
In a statement, AHSCP location manager for Huntly and Alford Fiona Lovie said: “This has been an exceptionally anxious time for families and I cannot thank them enough for working with us to ensure the best possible outcomes for their loved ones.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people and teams that have worked so incredibly hard, and at pace, in the best interests of the residents.”