Dorothy Forbes always said she and her husband “had a good war”. The 97-year-old former Land Army girl from Dewsbury recalls being sent to Norfolk to work on a farm, dancing to Glenn Miller at a US Air Force base and, on one occasion, finding a dead German parachutist hanging from a tree.
Today, she is a frail, bed-bound resident of the West Ridings Care Home in Outwood, Wakefield, where she has been, in increasingly poor health, for the last eight or nine years. She’s had Covid-19 three times, (once pre-vaccine), but has been quite happy in her dotage and has considered it her home.
All that changed on the morning of 18 July, when her son Alex received a letter from Advinia which said that it would “no longer provide Local Authority funded residential care on Wharfedale House (one of six units on the site) and therefore will be closing these beds to Local Authority by 28/8/2023”. Alex has stated:
“I was shocked and saddened by the letter I received from Advinia. My mother has been a resident of the Wharfedale unit at the care home for over 9 years and to be treated like this at the age of 97 leaves me speechless. How can I possibly tell her that she has to leave a place where she feels safe and secure and has known as home for so long, let alone the carers she knows and loves.”
The reasons given included “staffing pressures in the sector, the financial sustainability of the home”, and even “energy costs due to the war in the Ukraine”.
A messy and fraught situation
What this means is that the families of about 20-30 very frail, elderly residents have five weeks to find an alternative bed in an already under-pressure sector, along with arranging complex, nursing and medical assessments, registering with a new GP and pharmacist and explaining to family members that they have to go live somewhere else.
That is, if they can find somewhere.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the scenarios most dreaded by local authorities was the sudden closure of a care home. The sheer logistical complexity, along with the existing lack of capacity and the emotional and physical trauma for residents and families, make the process next to impossible. Add in the fact that this closure is happening during the summer, peak time for people taking annual leave to coincide with school holidays, and the situation is invariably messy and fraught.
For Dorothy, who is bed-bound and suffering from collapsed vertebrae due to osteoporosis, moving her down the corridor is difficult enough.
Advinia care raise CQC ‘concerns’
Advinia Care is owned, according to Companies House, by Finchley-based Dr Sanjeev Kanoria and his wife Sangita. It was founded in 1999 and previously went under the name Rupis Ltd until 2000 when it became Cloisters Care Ltd until 2011.
According to Wikipedia, Dr Kanoria is owner and deputy chair of the Austrian Anadi bank. On 6 October 2019, Patrick Butler, social policy editor for the Guardian, reported that “the care industry regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has become seriously concerned in recent months about the group’s cash flow and financial management, as well as its refusal to submit to an independent audit of its finances”.
The article also said the CQC was also concerned about the “competency and capabilities” of Advinia’s finance department, noting it had got through four finance directors in five months over the summer. It said several companies in the group had failed to file statutory accounts with Companies House.
The former Land Army girl may have had a good war, but she now faces a less clear-cut battle to live out her final days in peace.
If you are experiencing similar issues, go to your local authority website and search for ‘Social Care Direct’.