Doomed Care Home Strikes Deal To Remain Open Longer

A LAST-MINUTE deal has been struck to ensure a Lothian care home will stay open until the end of next month – in a move set to ensure elderly residents only face being moved once.

In a joint statement released by East Lothian Council and the nursing home, it was revealed that the council had offered a short-term financial package to Cockenzie House Nursing Home which would enable it to continue to provide care for residents until they transfer to new, permanent accommodation.

The deal will come as a relief to residents, a day after a nurse told how the home had witnessed an “unprecedented” eight deaths in the last eight weeks. While the deaths cannot be linked with the home’s closure, doctors say the stress of the situation would not be helping the health of residents.

The extra time will allow owner Jim McDonald and his staff to work with social workers to help residents move to suitable accommodation before the home closes.

It will also mean residents should be able to move directly into Greenfield Park Nursing Home in Musselburgh, if they choose to do so. The home is the closest to Cockenzie, but is currently undergoing renovations and is not expected to be ready until the end of March.

Mr McDonald welcomed the conclusion of the deal, which he said would make the move far easier for the 36 residents. “It is obviously upsetting that the home needs to close, but I am just pleased that the proper time will be taken to find our residents new permanent homes,” he said. “I was worried some of them were going to be moved twice, which would have been very hard to take.”

Mr McDonald said he could no longer afford to run the home because of restrictions placed on him by the Care Commission.

It imposed a ban on admissions last year after a report criticised standards of health care, nutrition and food hygiene.

The statement went on to say that the limitation of providing care to elderly people in a historic building made it “uneconomical” to meet the standards required by the Care Commission.

Following the restrictions put in place by the Care Commission, a new contract was initially agreed between East Lothian Council and the home. However, Mr McDonald later cancelled the agreement saying he could no longer afford to keep the home open.

Councillor Ruth Currie, East Lothian Council’s spokeswoman for adult social care, paid tribute to the staff and residents of Cockenzie House Nursing Home and to the social workers involved in moving residents.

“The past few months have been quite demanding for residents, their families and staff but we hope that, with the help of social workers and Cockenzie House staff, all individuals settle into their new accommodation quickly,” she said.