Seton Hall residents, their relatives and the staff were told this week that the care home is facing possible closure.
Lack of demand for residential care, high maintenance costs on the 50 year old building and increased demands to improve facilities at the home mean that it is no longer sustainable for Seton Care, the Berwickshire Housing Association subsidiary company who run the 47 bed home, to continue operating it.
Without Seton Hall, their home care service that operates in Berwick and north Northumberland is no longer sustainable and Seton Care are in discussion with Careline who hold the home care contract for the area, who have agreed to take on all staff delivering home care.
All other services delivered by Seton Care, such as the sheltered housing in Berwickshire and Little Reivers Nursery are not affected and will continue to operate as normal.
Helen Forsyth, chief executive of Berwickshire Housing Association, said: “Over the last few months we have explored every possible option to keep Seton Hall open, but have not yet succeeded in finding a long term solution.
“As a result, we are very sorry that we have no option but to begin a consultation with staff, residents and families to consider the closure of Seton Hall.
“This consultation period begins in early June and lasts 30 days, allowing time for everyone affected to consider if there are any other solutions we have not found. If there is no other solution but closure, this will be done gradually in order to make the transition for all residents as smooth as possible.”
Seton Care have appointed a resident liaison officer and are working with the local authority to find alternative, suitable places for the 36 residents.
“As we are working with elderly people, we have sought advice on best practice from local authorities and other care agencies about how to manage and support them to minimise the upheaval caused by the proposed closure,” added Helen.
There are 66 members of staff at Seton Hall and Helen said: “In the event of closure we would work with all our staff to help them with redeployment, training for job applications, coaching for interviews and counselling, throughout the redundancy and closure process.”
Fiona McDougall, whose 92 year old mother has been in Seton Hall for two years, said after hearing the news: “It has been identifed, and is evidence based, that an elderly person after being in a care home for a number of years, a high percentage of them die within a year of being moved.”
She praised the staff and the personalised care and support given to residents: “Staff there always go the extra mile, not just with the residents but also with their families.”