‘APPALLED’ campaigners say the potential closure of a Rugby care home would be an ‘inconceivable loss’ to the area.
Jim Gillespie House is among 43 care homes which is under a consultation process and could be closed by owners the Abbeyfield Society.
A petition to save the Dunchurch Road site has so far attracted 175 signatures.
The son of two former residents of the care home – which provides residential, dementia-friendly, and end-of-life care – told The Observer the closure would be ‘a heartless and unnecessary disruption’ to the home’s current residents.
David Brook’s parents spent their final five years at Jim Gillespie House, up to 2021.
He said: “The care my parents received was first class. All of their concerns were addressed in a timely manner, which they felt enabled them to retain a continuation of their life in their own home.
“Residents, many of whom have dementia, have bonds with each other and with the staff, and do not deserve to suffer being unsettlingly removed from the secure home that they, and their families, thought they had made for their later years.”
He said he found it difficult to rationalise the potential closure of the home considering its occupancy rate was close to 100 per cent of its 30-resident capacity, it always achieved its yearly budget, and it cost the society nothing to build as it was paid for by a benefactor.
He added: “Throughout the pandemic, Jim Gillespie House had no hospitalisations or deaths – a true testament to the management and dedication of all involved in the running of this home.
“Its reputation in Rugby has led it to be a very desirable and hugely respected care home. Its proposed closure would be a tragic loss to the local community and, most especially, its current residents and their families.
“If it is to close so the profits of sale can prop up larger, impersonal homes run by the Abbeyfield Society, they must surely re-examine what they claim to be their mission statement of providing ‘homely houses’ and reflect upon how badly they would be letting current residents down.”
An Abbeyfield spokesperson said it was a genuine consultation process and no decision about the future of the home had been made.
They added: “We recently completed the latest review of all of our homes to consider how our properties can keep pace with the changing needs, tastes and expectations of older people, the investment required to bring them up to modern standards and whether they are able to meet new regulatory and energy efficiency requirements.
“We also needed to reflect how the past few difficult years have impacted the organisation’s finances, particularly the impact of the Covid pandemic, the huge increase in energy prices, rising inflation, and rapidly increasing operating costs.
“It is with regret that we have made the difficult decision to begin consulting on the future of Jim Gillespie House. Everybody taking part in the consultation process will have the opportunity to share their thoughts, ideas and any proposals they may have before a final decision is made.
“We fully acknowledge the impact that this consultation, and any potential outcomes, will have on our residents and colleagues in particular, and we will be doing everything we can to support and assist them through this difficult process.”
Jim Gillespie House was rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission in 2018. The total weekly charge for residents is £1,184.
Visit https://tinyurl.com/ebtvt3uv to sign the petition against its closure.