Consultation now underway on major residential care proposals
Residents can now have their say on proposals to modernise local residential care services – including a major investment to build four state-of-the-art new care accommodation while retaining five Council care homes.
At their meeting on Monday, December 5, Cabinet considered the proposals, as well as the recent feedback from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on November 29. Cabinet Members agreed to consult on a preferred option that focuses on preventative services, well-being and future needs. This option would increase choice for people requiring accommodation with care and offers viable alternatives for those able to remain independent within their communities.
The proposals have been brought forward as part of the Council’s ongoing commitment to modernise and improve adult care provision, responding to changing expectations and an ageing population. A £50m investment plan to provide 300 extra care beds in Rhondda Cynon Taf was agreed in 2017 – and 100 beds have since been created at new extra care housing in Aberaman and Graig.
The proposals include building brand new accommodations providing extra care and residential dementia care in Treorchy, Ferndale and Mountain Ash – as well as a new state-of-the art accommodation for people with learning disabilities in adulthood, in Church Village. Five Council care homes would be retained, and four homes would be de-commissioned and replaced with modernised or specialist facilities outlined above. The preferred option is outlined at the bottom of this article.
As a result of Cabinet’s decision, a consultation is now underway on the preferred option, until Friday, January 27, 2023. This presents an opportunity for residents that may be affected by the proposals, their families, carers and advocates, staff members, and the public, to find out more and have their say.
The Council will provide an information booklet, questionnaire, Frequently Asked Questions and easy read documents to all residents living in the care homes affected by proposals. There will also be meetings with residents and their families while advocacy support will be arranged for those who need it. Independent consultants Practice Solutions Ltd are commissioned to help with this process.
There will also be a number of internal consultation meetings with staff members of the care homes affected by the proposals. Emails will also be sent to key stakeholders to advise them of the consultation and invite them to take part.
The public can have their say by accessing information on the Council’s website and completing a survey, at www.rctcbc.gov.uk/consultations.
This will be regularly promoted on the Council’s social media channels. Local community ‘drop-in’ events will also be held in Mountain Ash, Ferndale and Church Village in January. Full details will be communicated in due course.
Councillor Gareth Caple, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “Cabinet has agreed to undertake an extensive seven-week consultation on the preferred option, having taken into consideration the feedback from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and officer recommendations. The process will gain the views of all affected care home residents, their families or advocates, staff members, and the public.
“The proposals have been brought forward in line with the Council’s ongoing commitment to modernise residential care provision. They would increase options for older people across three new facilities offering extra care and residential dementia care, and a fourth state-of-the-art accommodation for people with learning disabilities. This will result in another estimated additional investment of £60m in new accommodation, representing a positive pathway for older people to live with dignity and respect, and would undoubtedly increase the health and independence of older people for generations to come.
“We have seen how introducing modern care accommodation can really make a positive difference to older people. Our extra care housing at Maesyffynnon in Aberaman and Cwrt yr Orsaf in Graig opened in the last two years and are already very popular community hubs, allowing residents to live independently with support and have meaningful day-to-day interactions. The facilities were designed to include larger spaces for mobility, a range of on-site amenities, and en-suite facilities which many of our current care homes do not have.
“Officers have made it clear that doing nothing across our residential care provision is not an option, in light of the continued increase in surplus beds in care homes and older people’s changing needs. It is clear that change and investment is needed to provide the best environment for care. The four new settings under the preferred option would be modern, accessible and sustainable.
“Cabinet has agreed to consult on the preferred option, and that process is now underway. The four homes proposed to be decommissioned will be a large focus of the consultation in the weeks ahead. The Council will support care home residents affected by the proposals, along with their families and advocates, to have their say. Staff will also be asked for their views, while the public can take part online and at three face-to-face events in the New Year.
“All of the feedback received over the next seven weeks will be collated and presented to Cabinet following the consultation, to inform a final decision.”
The preferred option that the Council is now consulting on includes:
- Retaining the current service provision at five current Council care homes – Clydach Court in Trealaw, Pentre House, Tegfan in Trecynon, Cae Glas in Hawthorn and Parc Newydd in Talbot Green.
- Providing a new accommodation with 40 Extra Care apartments and 20 residential dementia beds in Treorchy – this development would be explored with Linc Cymru and the health board. It would be located on land near Ystrad Fechan Care Home. The care home is temporarily closed with no residents, and would be permanently decommissioned.
- Providing a new accommodation with 20 Extra Care apartments and 10 residential dementia beds in Ferndale – this development would be explored with Linc Cymru. It would be located on land near the existing Ferndale House Care Home, which would be decommissioned when the new facility is developed.
- Providing a new accommodation with 25 Extra Care apartments and 15 residential dementia beds in Mountain Ash – this development would be explored with Linc Cymru. It would be located on land near the existing Troedyrhiw Care Home. The home would be decommissioned when the new facility is developed.
- Remodelled accommodation to provide care for people with learning disabilities in adulthood, in Church Village – this would be achieved by redeveloping Garth Olwg Care Home. The care home would be decommissioned when suitable placements are found for its residents, in a home of their choice which meets their assessed needs.
The Council runs nine residential care homes offering 267 beds, making it one of the largest Local Authority providers in Wales. It has an increasing surplus of beds – with 184 beds vacant as of November 2022, rising from just eight vacant beds in 2016. Overall, the Council only has 60% of its residential care beds occupied.