Closure shock for Sunderland nursing home residents

Sue Watson, outside Wearcourt nursing and care home where her dad and step mum, Cyril and Betty Calvert are residents, the home is to close in four weeks.
Sue Watson, outside Wearcourt nursing and care home where her dad and step mum, Cyril and Betty Calvert are residents, the home is to close in four weeks.
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ELDERLY residents have been left devastated after finding out their care home is to close.

The shock decision to shut Wearcourt Nursing Home in just four weeks’ time has left pensioners and their families distressed.

Sue Watson, whose parents Cyril, 80, and Betty, 76, have lived at the Roker home since February, now faces finding somewhere else for them to live.

She said: “There is a lot of distress in the home at the moment, as it’s so hard to find a good place for your parents to stay.

“There are so few homes around where they cater for couples, and I think its really important that they can be together.”

She added: “I feel sorry for many of the other residents who have been there longer as it’s their home and their family.

“One lady there is 102-years-old, and I can’t imagine what the move will mean for her.”

The move to close the home comes after a fire safety inspection demanded 48 mahogany doors in the property be changed.

Owner Dr David Ratliff requested financial assistance from Sunderland Social Services as he claimed the change would cost more than £20,000, but was refused.

And because he says the authority suspended new admissions to Wearcourt following the fire report at the end of last month, it cannot stay open.

Sue’s mother Betty suffers from dementia which is adding to the difficulty of the situation.

“This will be her third move in total and this is proving to be very distressing for her,” she said.

“I also feel sorry for the staff. One of the nurses told me that she has worked there for 17 years so I imagine she is very worried too.”

Dr Ratliff said: “We have operated this nursing home since late 2005, and have delightful residents who rightly regard this as their home.

“Further we have long standing loyal, reliable and professional staff who treat our residents as family.

“We find it incomprehensible that, as our property has not changed that, a different fire officer can provide such a conflicting report which the council has accepted.”

He added: “We are liaising closely with all residents, and next of kin regarding this enforced decision.

“We are also offering good accommodation and care in our other nursing home seven miles from Wearcourt.”

Jean Carter, deputy executive director of health, housing and adult services, at Sunderland Council, said: “In response to the closure of the home, a session for families is organised for today in order to share information and to provide support in finding alternative accommodation.

“Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Teaching PCT staff representatives were at the home yesterday to offer families and carers opportunities to find out more information about next steps.

“Working together with the staff, families and residents themselves, our priority is to have a planned move to alternative suitable accommodation with minimal disruption to all concerned.

“If anyone has any concerns about a family member or friend living at Wearcourt Nursing Home, you can contact 520 5555.”