The future of a Daventry care home no longer ‘fit for purpose’ looks set to be determined by its residents, as the council considers whether to close it or heavily invest in refurbishing it.
Evelyn Wright House is a 35-bed home for older people over 60 who have a physical disability or dementia. But the home has reached the end of its lifespan, and will require improvement works of roughly £800,000 to bring it up to the required standard.
Northamptonshire County Council, which provides residential care to 29 people at the home, has now started a 10-week consultation which will determine its future. Residents of the home, as well as members of the public, can have their say from today (September 11) until the deadline of November 19.
Speaking at a cabinet meeting yesterday (September 10), portfolio holder for adult social care, Councillor Ian Morris, said: “We’re going to have a consultation on the building. It’s reached its end of life condition. To use the site as it is is currently unviable.”
The consultation will ask whether the service should continue to be provided in house by the county council’s adult social services, whether customers should receive support from other commissioned providers, or whether the option of other residential care homes in Daventry should be explored as alternative placements.
It comes just three years after the county council ruled to keep the home open for the ‘short to medium term’, with Evelyn Wright House being included in a 2016 consultation of six care homes which were operated at the time by Olympus Care.
Since then however, the building has fallen into further disrepair. An assessment by the council showed that the roof requires ‘substantial work’ to be carried out; the windows are in a poor state of repair and need to be replaced; six bedrooms on the first floor can’t currently be used due to a lift being out of action and ‘beyond repair’; and floor replacements are required in several areas.
Labour councillor Danielle Stone questioned whether the county council had allowed the house to fall into its current state since the 2016 consultation, but this was something that Councillor Morris disputed.
An inspection carried out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in April, which was published in June, found that the service at the home ‘requires improvement’. Although inspectors praised staff, and found that the service was rated ‘good’ in terms of being effective and caring, the state of the building helped contribute to the overall result.
Inspectors found one breach of the Health and Social Care Act, and wrote: “People were placed at risk of cross infection because areas within the home were not maintained or
“The flooring in the main kitchen had lifted in some areas and there was a gap between the flooring and the wall in one of the kitchenette areas.
“In two of the kitchenettes the plaster was coming away from the walls around the windows and the door of one of the cupboards could not be properly secured as it was broken.”
The council admitted in its report that the building was ‘not fit for purpose’ and was close to not meeting the regulatory standards required by the CQC.
Should the council elect to invest £800,000 of capital funds in refurbishing the building, then residents would need interim accommodation.
The paper adds: “It is important that the council seeks their views and provides the opportunity for them to respond on how the proposals could affect them. Members will then be asked to take this into consideration before making their final decision on the proposals, in a future report to cabinet.”
The council says it will offer one-on-one consultation meetings with residents, while an online consultation can be found here on the county council's website.