Council bosses defend stance on care home

COUNCIL chiefs accused of being “premature and cruel” by sending in a social worker to a care home for the elderly to discuss residents’ options have defended their actions.

The social worker was sent into council-run Caemaen care home despite the fact no decision has yet been made over the future of the home.

While it has been claimed the social worker turned up unannounced, Carmarthenshire Council bosses say the visit was as a result of requests from residents and their families.

In a letter to social services chiefs, Residents Against Care Home Closures action group member Deryk Cundy said: “My concern is for her to turn up unannounced at Caemaen with no appointment and expect to approach the residents without the knowledge of the residents or their families.”

Mr Cundy said he was advised that the social worker was there to reassure people they would not be placed in the community as part of a care package.

“It was made only too clear at the recent consultation meetings she attended that she was there to ensure the residents were prepared for being moved from their home,” he said.

“I believe this is premature, unless you have made the decision to close the care homes and evict the residents.”

Mr Cundy added: “Constant reminders to the residents, however well intentioned, that they might be evicted is counter-productive and upsetting to them, so perhaps it would be better to support them when the decision has been made by the full council whether or not to shut the care homes in question.”

Carmarthenshire councillor Dyfrig Thomas, who is also the mayor of Llanelli, said he was shocked to learn of the social worker calling in to the Caemaen home “to prepare the residents for the move, should it happen”.

He said: “The county council will not decide on the future of the homes at the very least until January or February. It is premature and cruel to talk about ‘preparing the residents for the move, should it happen’ when no decision has been made.”

However, Carmarthenshire Council director of social care and housing Bruce McLernon said the decision to send the social worker came after requests from residents at the home.

He said: “This is at the request of residents and their families. At the recent consultation meetings a number of residents and relatives indicated that they would appreciate having the opportunity to discuss the consultation process and options with a social worker.

“This offer is being made to residents and families, and the social worker, Angela O’Neill, will be making herself known to the residents.

“It will be for residents and relatives to decide whether they wish to take up the offer and arrangements made to meet with them at their convenience.”