The wife of a Salford man who is facing a move to another care home miles away from home has spoken of her fears about where he might end up.
Eighty-four-year-old Ben Glynn, who has dementia, is living at Laburnum Court Care Home but families and staff have been told it will close by mid-March 2024.
Ben’s wife Debbie said she received a letter on December 1 telling her about the closure of Laburnum Court, which offers specialist EMI (Elderly Mental Inform) nursing and residency.
Closing it would put 91 staff members out of work, and force 55 vulnerable residents to move elsewhere.
Debbie, 61, who has been married to Ben for nearly 37 years, said: “It’s been a terrible shock to everybody’s families and the staff.”
Her daughter Lauren, 30, added: “My dad was supposed to die there. The staff love these residents – they’re family as well.”
The home was deemed by investors as not financially viable, and it is expected to close by March. The owners are aiming to repurpose the building, which is located on Priory Grove in Salford.
Ben was diagnosed with dementia in 2018 and his condition has since deteriorated. Ben had previously spent time in Bolton Royal hospital due to his condition but Debbie and Lauren felt it wasn’t the best place for his needs.
After spending some time in homes far from where Debbie and Lauren live, Ben finally landed a place at Laburnum Court Care Home a few months ago.
Now families of residents are anxious about where their loved ones might end up and a petition has been started which you can find online here.
According to Alzheimer’s Society UK, changes in living environment can cause increased confusion and worsen symptoms for those living with dementia.
There are only six more EMI unit care homes in Salford, and 55 new residents to care for.
Debbie said: “Luckily a place came available here, this had always been out first choice anyway because when we’d came on out visits, the staff, you could just see their warmth, it just emanates from them.
“He’s very content here. He has a few issues that’s why he is on EMI nursing, but the staff here they know him so well. It’s not just oh put him up, feed him, put him there, put him back. They know all of their residents – that’s the whole point of Laburnum Court. It’s a wonderful place”.
The home is run by Belz Care Ltd. In a statement Managing Director Rob Baillie said: “The investors who own the company Belz Care Ltd have decided to close down the business Laburnum Court Nursing Home due to its lack of financial viability and continued loss-making month by month which is continuing to escalate.
‘The decision has not been made lightly and we have over the past few months explored many different options for the home to allow it to gain financial sustainability now and in the future without success.
‘Unfortunately the social sector has continued to be underfunded and with spiraling costs we are now in a situation across England where insolvencies have increased by more than 30% so far in this financial year. Laburnum Court has become a victim of these circumstances.
“I appreciate that this is a difficult and anxious time for our residents, their families and our staff team and we will strive to achieve the best possible outcomes for all.”
But for Lauren, the three-month notice period is unrealistic. She said: “How can they expect to move everyone in that time?
“The homes are going to pick who they want to live there, they’re going to pick the easier people to deal with. My dad has been sexual in the past, he’s been violent, because of his illness. Of course they’re going to pick the easier residents.
“I understand it and I’m not angry at them for that – I get it. But that does leave us stuck. Laburnum Court is almost like the naughty school. No one else would take these residents.”
She and Debbie place the staff at the core of Laburnum and the outstanding care they have shown to Ben.
Lauren said: “My dad can get quite scary, it’s just the nature of his illness. When my son who’s three gets scared or I get scared, the girls know how to look after us. They hold us, they dry our tears.
“I remember once I walked in and I said to my dad ‘you alright dad do you remember me?’ and he said ‘no I’ve not got a clue who you are, but I know I love you because I got butterflies when you walked in’ and I got really upset and cried. The next time I walked in the girls had put little butterflies on his bed for him. Just little things like that.”
The staff at Laburnum Care Home were not willing to comment due to the fragility of the situation.
In response to the loss of 91 jobs, Belz Care Ltd said “We are working with external agencies and are attempting to seek out as many employment opportunities as possible and are sharing this information with staff as it becomes available. We will support staff in making any necessary applications and provide interview preparation sessions if required.”
Staff from the care home have spent time on the streets at Salford Precinct out of working hours, handing out paper copies of the petition.
“I think we need to make as much noise as possible. This isn’t right,” said Lauren.
Belz Care Ltd will be holding an open meeting for relatives on Tuesday November 12.
Salford Council were unavailable for comment.