Families left in shock at closure of Cooriedoon

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Council terminate care home contract

Exclusive by Hugh Boag

Families with elderly relatives in care have been left stunned this week by the shock closure of Cooriedoon Care Home. As a result all 16 residents will have to find somewhere else to stay.

It comes after the North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership terminated the care home contract to look after the 14 council-funded residents at the Whiting Bay home. The two others are in private care.

Families now have just three months to find alternative accommodation for their relatives – most of whom are in their 80s and 90s.

The news of the contract termination came out of the blue on Monday for home owner Sandra Butler while she was attending a virtual meeting.

The families of residents and the loyal staff at the home, some of whom have been newly recruited, found out at the same time.

One resident’s daughter-in-law told the Banner the announcement had been ‘inhumane’ and that they had not yet told their elderly relative until they could try and find out more.

She said: ‘The first we knew was the letter from the care home on Monday telling us the council had terminated the contract.

‘We have not been told previously that there were any problems and my father-in-law is happy there. Surely there must be a procedure do close nursing homes. It has not been done in a sensitive manner at all.’

Much of the concern surrounding Cooriedoon is understood to have been as a result of the pandemic, a concern at care homes across the country.

A Care Inspectorate report in December last year highlighted there had been a Covid-19 outbreak at the home affecting four residents in November.

At the time they described the care home’s response as ‘weak’, although this is said, in an as yet published report, to have improved since.

There have also staff shortage issues, again common across the country, which have since been addressed and the Care Inspectorate has not ordered the home to close. Instead the loss of the council contract has made this inevitable.

A North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership spokeswoman said: ‘There have been concerns over a significant period of time in relation to various aspects of care and support at Cooriedoon Care Home.

‘The safety and well-being of our service users is our utmost priority, and it is for this reason that the partnership has taken the very difficult decision to provide notice to terminate the contract with Cooriedoon Care Home.

‘We are currently working with the care home and other partners to ensure the best outcome for residents and their families, with the aim of facilitating a smooth transition to appropriate alternative accommodation, based on the needs and wishes of residents and their families.

‘The decision to exit from a contract with a care provider is never taken lightly, as we are acutely aware of the impact on residents, families and staff, as well as the wider community.

‘We understand that this will be a very worrying time for many, and as such will be providing various supports to all involved, including Cooriedoon staff affected by the decision.’

But Cooriedoon is the only registered nursing home on the island, as Montrose House in Brodick is at present only a residential home and not able to provide the same level of medical care, although this is to set change – see page 2.

The closure of Corriedoon will also see the loss of 33 jobs in a bitter blow to the island economy as well as the knock-on effect to suppliers and providers.

Seven of the staff are from India, who have moved here with their families, and three more are on their way which would have allowed Cooriedoon to operate at its maximum capacity of 25.

There are already known to be residents on Arran on the care home waiting lists and with an ageing population on the island the strain on a single residential home is only going to increase.

Cooriedoon was issued with 13 weeks’ notice on January 17. This means that all residents who are funded by a local authority should have moved on by April 8.

Built in 19oo Cooriedoon started life as the Whiting Bay Hotel, and in 1988, after an extensive interior renovation, it re-opened as Cooriedoon Nursing Home; in 2002 it became a residential and nursing some.

It was established by Celia Butler and her daughter Sandra. Celia retired in 2004 with Sandra following in 2016, although they remain the owners and have invested heavily in improving the property for residents and installing new equipment.

Arran councillor Timothy Billings, who has been in touch with several families, said: ‘I do have some concerns about the ability of Arran’s care service to be able to accommodate all of Cooriedoon’s current residents and to provide sufficient capacity for future Arran residents requiring residential care.

‘I have asked the HSCP for more information about its plans, which will provide specific information on which to make future comments and discussions.’

The well-known Cooriedoon sign which recently blew down in the storms.