Seaton care home saved from closure

PUBLISHED: 15:44 01 December 2009 | UPDATED: 00:38 16 June 2010

A SEATON care home has averted closure thanks to the intervention of Sir Gerry Robinson. The celebrity businessman and presenter visited Thornfield, in Scalwell Lane, as part of a television series on dementia care homes.

A SEATON care home has averted closure thanks to the intervention of Sir Gerry Robinson, writes Angela Brennan.

The celebrity businessman and presenter visited Thornfield, in Scalwell Lane, as part of a television series on dementia care homes.

When he first visited the home in March, he found there was low morale among the staff and the business was losing money.

Robin Cannon, of Cannon Care Homes Ltd - which has homes across the Axe Valley, said Sir Gerry's involvement took them back to basics with dementia care.

He said: "I wasn't surprised with the findings. I wasn't happy with the level of care we were providing. We had a poor reputation, lower than acceptable occupancy levels, and we weren't meeting costs.

"I am pleased to say that, in the last six or eight weeks, we have been trading at full capacity and have gained an excellent reputation.

"I can say unequivocally that the quality of life that our residents now enjoy is infinitely superior to what it was in March."

Over a six month period, Sir Gerry examined how care provided for those with dementia can be improved. He visited several homes, including Silverleigh, in Axminster - also owned by Cannon Care Homes Ltd.

But it was at Thornfield that Mr Cannon's financial backers were calling on him to sell up.

Staff have since taken further training in caring for residents with dementia - placing more emphasis on the residents' quality of life by focusing on their needs and desires.

Mr Cannon said they worked on improving communication with people suffering from dementia, which can be a source of frustration for the residents.

"The job of the carer is to really help and support individuals suffering from dementia to uncover their needs and make their lives more comfortable - encouraging even simple communication and to take time to do so," he said.

He added: "Our staff have thoroughly enjoyed working with Sir Gerry and, in particular, taking on board his observations."

Can Gerry Robinson Fix Dementia Care Homes? Is to be aired on BBC2 at 9pm on Tuesday, December 8, and the following week, December 15.


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