17 jobs to go as Gwynedd care home closes

A RESIDENTIAL home will be forced to close next  month with the loss of 17 jobs. The owners of Dwynfa Residential Care Home in Bontnewydd has informed its 12 residents and their families of the imminent closure and handed out redundancy notices to staff.

Joint owners, Talysarn couple John and Clare Curtis, are devastated by the closure and are firmly laying the blame at the door of Gwynedd Council’s social services department over its failure to refer residents to the home which has been in operation for more than 20 years.

Elderly people are referred to private or council run homes through social services, who give individuals or their families the choice of three sites.

But Mr Curtis says that not enough people have been referred to Dwynfa for the past 15 or 16 months.

He said: “We are registered to take 23 residents  and have been down to as low as  eight or nine this year, but  we need at least 14  to break even –  (as a result) we have been losing money since February .”

In a last throw of the dice the couple invested tens of thousands of pounds earlier  this year upgrading the building so it was able to take residents with dementia type conditions.

“We were told (by Gwynedd social services) the residential care model was moving towards the dementia market so we built a secure extension with a wet room, fire doors, sensors  and so on which licensed us to take 11 people with dementia.”

Yet the home was still not receiving enough referrals to make the business viable.

“It’s got to the stage where we have put  so much money into the business that we can’t put any more in,” he added.

To compound the situation social services were unwilling to pay the slightly higher rate, recommended by CSSIW, for those residents with dementia that were referred.

Mr Curtis expressed bafflement at the lack of referrals to the home and regret at its forced closure.

“It’s awful, really, really awful as this home has been established for 20 years. I would like the council to come down to the rest home to tell my residents personally that they have to move out and my staff that  they will no longer have a job.”

A council social services spokeswoman confirmed that it had been informed that Dwynfa  would close and that discussions had been held with the owners.

She said: “The main aim of social services is to support people to live as independently as possible in their own homes and this includes people with memory impairment problems.

“Should residential care be required, then the choice of home is solely that of the service user and the family or carers, provided that the home is registered to meet the assessed needs of that individual.”

Talysarn councillor Dilwyn Lloyd said: “My concern is that 17 staff, many from Talysarn and Penygroes, will now be out of a job and that elderly residents will have to find a new home which can be a traumatic experience.

“I think Gwynedd social services are to blame by not referring residents to Dwynfa which is a well maintained and well run property .

“More should have been done to support this facility and I think Gwynedd social services have let the owners down badly.

“We have a growing elderly population and a predicted increase in dementia levels, the last thing we need is for Dwynfa, which is providing excellent care, to close down.”