Care home residents to be hit with hefty buzzer bill

Bramble Hollow Residential Home, Four Lane Ends, Hetton.
Bramble Hollow Residential Home, Four Lane Ends, Hetton.
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ELDERLY residents at a Wearside care home are set to be hit in the pocket in the New Year after it was revealed some will have to pay more than £30 per week to use an intercom service.

Relatives of those living in Bramble Hollow, Four Lane Ends, Hetton, today hit out at the measure and labelled it “outrageous”.

A cost of care charge of £32.10 a week per apartment will soon be put in place, although chiefs say that if a residents’ care is funded though the local authority they will not be affected.

Bosses from Housing and Care 21, who run the facility, have said the move is due to council cuts and insist that the service provides other important features such as help with emergency care, regular wellbeing checks and help should a resident need to be brought back to the home after being discharged from hospital.

They also added that the move will not affect the majority of those living at Bramble Hollow.

But one woman, whose elderly in-laws live at the site, told the Echo: “When I first saw they will be charging more than £30 a week I thought “have they stuck another nought on the end?”

“I think it’s absolutely outrageous to expect elderly people to pay that much for what is a simple service.

“My mother and father-in-law really like the place and the staff, and if they knew the money was extra cash that going towards the carers’ wages then they wouldn’t mind as much.

“But the whole thing just seems to be about making money for the company and it’s disgraceful.

“It takes two minutes to put in and shouldn’t cost that much at all.”

The woman added: “There’s nothing new in what they are providing here.

“If my mother-in-law needs taking to hospital in the middle of the night she would just pull a cord and alert someone anyway.”

Claire Charlton, locality manager at Housing and Care 21, said: “Due to reductions in the money we receive from the local authority, we are having to seek a contribution towards our core charge.

“This covers a wide range of 24/7 on-site support services at this extra-care scheme, such as assistance with accessing services, emergency care, hospital admission prevention and support with discharge from hospital.

“The changes will not affect the majority of residents.

“For those who are affected, we are seeking to minimise the impact by fully supporting them with advice from our financial wellbeing managers and assistance in applying for other available benefits, to help with costs.”