Care home residents at centre of legal fight

OWNERS of an independent Welsh care home are going to court to stop council bosses closing them down.

Hillside Care Centre looks after 35 vulnerable pensioners with conditions including dementia at its three-storey premises in School Street, Brithdir.

Caerphilly council started steps to remove clients after a Care and Social Services Inspectorate of Wales (CSSIW) report expressed “disappointment” at the home’s continued failings.

After an inspection in June this year, the inspectors sounded unhappiness about the lack of activities and trips to keep clients stimulated – but did compliment staff on its homely food and broadly happy atmosphere.

Letters have already been sent to relatives of residents telling them their loved ones will have to move.

A council spokesman said: “We were seeking to terminate our contract with Hillside Residential Home.

“This action is being opposed by the owner and court proceedings are underway.

“Our main priority is the welfare of the residents at the home and will continue to work with the management to ensure their health and wellbeing is paramount.”

The three-storey home – owned by Broadway Care Centres Ltd – is run by 11 staff and remains occupied while the parties settle the legal argument.

A spokesman for the owners said: “We are fighting Caerphilly’s sudden decision to withdraw residents, which will mean the closure of Hillside.

“Court proceedings have been issued to try to stop this happening. We are unable to say anything further until proceedings have been concluded. However, the welfare of residents remains our first priority.”

CCSIW commented: “CSSIW has required improvements at Hillside Care Home at past inspections and inspectors have been visiting regularly to monitor progress.

“Concerns about the running of the service have remained. CSSIW has been working closely with Caerphilly council under Wales’ Escalating Concerns procedures in order that any action taken is co-ordinated.

“The welfare of the people living in the home and the impact of any decisions made by agencies is always taken into account.”

Relatives of residents have already been sent letters from the council.

The county’s assistant social services director Dave Street told relatives in the letter: “I’m writing to inform you that following ongoing concerns with the standards of care at Hillside Care Centre, Caerphilly council has informed the owner that they will be terminating the current contract with immediate effect.

“Consequently, it will be necessary for your relative to move from the home.”

The letter went on to promise each case would get its own social worker as the authority worked with the home and CCSIW to find new accommodation over the next few weeks.

Present and previous managers, as well as the owner, had been discussing the authorities’ concerns and CCSIW inspectors had recently carried out enforcement action.

“However, in spite of numerous opportunities and support from all agencies, the standards of care have not improved,” he added.

One affected relative who asked not to be named said: “My frail mum’s in her 80s with dementia and spent every other weekend there on respite care. Me and my family have had a tough time.”