Source: City of Portsmouth
Portsmouth City Council has announced a bold new vision to deliver the care facilities the city needs.
Plans are being put forward to create new accommodation and support people with more complex needs in their own communities.
The new facilities would replace older care homes that are not flexible enough to meet the needs the city currently faces.
A range of accommodation is required in Portsmouth, but there are currently limited solutions in the city.
Specifically there is a lack of affordable, good quality extra care accommodation for people with dementia and/or physical disabilities, and the council is looking to start to bridge this gap by developing a specific dementia extra care facility.
This will shape the options people currently have in Portsmouth, by increasing choices for care needs to be met in an environment where people can maintain their independence with care on site.
To enable this to happen the council is proposing to close both Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge in October 2019 and October 2020 respectively, and subsequently build new, better and more sustainable accommodation.
Current proposals for the Edinburgh House site would see 50 new homes created for people living with dementia, which is more than the current home’s capacity. The cost of this would be in the region of £9.75m, and the work is likely to take between 2-3 years. Plans for Hilsea Lodge are still being developed.
Angela Dryer, Portsmouth City Council’s deputy director of adult social care, said: “Currently we do not have the facilities the city requires to provide the best level of care for people with dementia or physical disabilities.
“Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge have served us well but both homes are under-occupied and there is a much lower demand for this kind of accommodation. We have assessed the need for care in the city and using these sites to create new homes is the best way forward. The dementia care facility is a fantastic way to start this process and I hope these plans are approved.”
This will be an option for people with dementia to access supported living and will build on the supported living opportunities that are already available in Portsmouth, offering accommodation in four locations around the city.
The proposals would provide an alternative for people with dementia in the future, and allow them to maintain independence and dignity in their own homes.
Portsmouth does not currently have an extra care dementia offer. Assessments of a number of individuals currently using council-run accommodation showed that while they were unable to manage in their own at home, they did not need 24 hour residential care.
Building an extra care facility for people with dementia will enable people to live in a supported environment, with skilled and trained staff available on site to support them 24 hours a day.
Independent data from Which shows that Portsmouth has more projected elderly care beds than it will need in the next 5 years.
By supporting people in their own homes for longer, this will further reduce the need for residential care in the city.
Both Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge are limited in the residents that they are able to support due to the physical layout of the units. Better accommodation is required to meet the needs of residents with dementia. If they were to be kept, areas of the buildings would require significant improvement to meet the current standards for residential care. It is therefore not a viable option for these two homes to be kept open in the future.
Additionally, the demand for residential placements for people with dementia has reduced since March 2016, and both Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge have seen a reduction in the number of people with dementia seeking residential care.
The proposals include taking some of the funding for the project from the council’s capital budget, which invests in a range of infrastructure schemes throughout the city like buildings and facilities, rather than the day-to-day running of council services that have to be paid through a separate revenue budget. The rest of the funding will be secured from external partners such as Homes England.
The council are working closely with staff and residents families to ensure that the process is as clear as possible and that they are receiving the support they need.
If this proposal is approved it is not anticipated that there will be any redundancies, and staff will be redeployed into remaining council-run care services and homes in the city.
A decision on this proposal will be made at 5pm on Tuesday 20 November by the Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care.
Cllr. Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, said: “Portsmouth is crying out for extra care facilities for those living with dementia and physical difficulties. We want to ensure that we are supporting people to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. To do this we need to ensure that there is good quality extra care accommodation which meets the changing needs of an ageing population.
“I look forward to seeing these proposals and making a decision based on the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our city.”
Why is the council considering closing this home?
We know that people would prefer to stay in their own homes for longer. Therefore, we want to support people to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. In creating an extra care facility for people with dementia this is offering something that is not available in Portsmouth. The physical environment of Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge, built 60 and 40 years ago, are no longer suitable for those with more complex needs who require residential care. We have also identified a gap between people at home and in residential care and repurposing the Edinburgh House site allows us to build an extra care facility for those with dementia, providing appropriate levels of care and support, on site, as and when required.
Is this just a cost cutting exercise?
No. This decision is based on the changing complexities of residents in the city and a significant need for an extra care dementia offer. However, delivering these options will also contribute towards reducing adult social care spend by 2021.
How many residents are there?
There are currently 19 residents at Edinburgh House and 21 at Hilsea Lodge.
Is it safe to move people?
The council have built in a transitional period where people are moved in a timely way, meaning that there is as little risk as possible to residents. The council will be working closely with the relatives of residents to ensure that their care and wellbeing is a priority.
Will residents and carers be fully consulted and involved in the decision making process?
The council has arranged engagement meetings with the relatives of residents in both Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge. The purpose of these meetings will be to discuss all options to ensure that they are fully supported through this process. These will be held on a regular basis to ensure that the care and wellbeing of the residents is a priority.
How many jobs are likely to go?
It is not anticipated that there will be any staff redundancies. The council will be working with all staff affected by this change. The council will be looking to redeploy staff into remaining council run care services and homes in the city. All staff will be invited to regular consultation events to ensure that they are informed and aware of the situation.
Won’t this lead to a care crisis in the city? Are there enough places in the system to cope?
In-house we have 125 beds. In March 2016 114 residential beds were purchased in the independent sector, and 98 of the 125 in-house beds were occupied. By March 2018 these figures had reduced to 110 and 69 respectively. Since March 2016 the demand for residential placements for people with dementia has reduced and we have seen a reduction in the number of people with dementia seeking residential care through supporting people at home for longer.
Our assessment shows that the council will be able to accommodate existing residents within Shearwater and Harry Sotnick House by October 2020. Council-owned Harry Sotnick House will be returning to Portsmouth City Council management in April 2020.
Where are the residents being moved?
The council will work closely with the residents and their families to choose alternative accommodation. They will be offered opportunities to visit other homes at times that suit them. Any residents who would like to move sooner than the proposed closure date would be supported to do so.
People have made friends in the care home – will they be separated when it closes?
We will hold regular engagement meetings with residents’ relatives to ensure that they are supported in making decisions for future accommodation. This will include assessing friendships as well as care and support needs.
What will happen to the site – will it be sold for development? What will the money be used for?
The council are seeking to re-purpose the current Edinburgh House site and build a dementia extra care facility, which will provide alternatives for people with dementia in the future, maintaining independence and dignity in their own homes, with staff available on site 24/7. An option for people with dementia to access supported living would build on the supported living opportunities that are already available in Portsmouth that have been developed over recent years, offering accommodation in four locations around the city. Plans for Hilsea Lodge are still being developed.
What are the timescales for building the new homes?
This process will take 2-3 years following the closure of Edinburgh House. The plans for Hilsea Lodge are still being developed.
How much will this cost?
The estimated cost to re-purpose the Edinburgh House site is £9.75m. The plans for Hilsea Lodge are still being developed.
Will this leave less residential care beds in the Portsmouth once the homes are both closed?
Since March 2016 the demand for residential placements for people with dementia has reduced. In March 2016 114 residential beds were purchased in the independent sector, and 98 of the 125 in-house beds were occupied. By March 2018 these figures had reduced to 110 and 69 respectively. We have also seen a reduction in the number of people with dementia seeking residential care through supporting people at home for longer.
Our assessment shows that the council will be able to accommodate existing residents within Shearwater and Harry Sotnick House by October 2020.
How much would it cost to keep Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge open?
In the long term keeping Edinburgh House and Hilsea Lodge open for the next two years would need millions of pounds of investment to make it viable. This would still not be the correct environment for people with complex needs. The level of care in the homes has been rated as good however the environment is not conducive to meet the standards of care we wish to. The buildings are coming to the end of their working life. Also to do the required work on both homes would mean closing them for months and it wouldn’t be fair on residents to move them out and then back in again.
Why aren’t we telling residents?
At this stage the decision is still to be made by the elected members. Given this, we do not feel that it is appropriate to potentially cause anxiety with residents. However we have spoken to relatives and have discussed the appropriate way to communicate this with residents at the appropriate time.