RESIDENTS and worried family members are facing up to a proposal to withdraw round-the-clock care from a Wrexham care home.
Wrexham Council has announced a plan that would see the removal of an on-site manager and the end of night time on-call care at Plas yn Rhos sheltered housing in Rhos.
The flats, on Beech Avenue, care for up to 30 elderley people.
The facility has been open since the early 1980s and has always had an on-site manager and 24-hour on call care.
But those services may be removed if the council’s proposal is ratified.
Relatives of elderly residents said the move could spell “terrible” consequences.
Stella Murphy, 66, of Park Road, Ponciau, said her 94-year-old mother had been a resident at Plas yn Rhos since January.
“I am forming a support group against the plans. This is standing up for all of the residents.
“The proposals should not be allowed to happen, if they go ahead I fear the consequences would be terrible.”
Irene Russell, 78, has been a resident for three years. She said: “We intend to have banners made saying ‘Save Our Staff To Save Our Lives’. We feel the situation really is that serious.
“We won’t be moved on this issue and we don’t want the staff to be moved. This is a service for the elderly that is very much needed. We are happy here, at the moment we live with dignity.”
Rhos community councillor Ruth Thomas said: “It is their homes for goodness sake. Without a member of staff on-site how will residents keep track of their medication and care?”
The changes to the care system would also see buzzers installed in each resident’s flat, meaning visitors would buzz to access flats rather than having to check-in first with a member of staff, as is the current protocol.
During day time hours staff will still be on hand at to care for residents, but the new proposals would leave the site without staff between 6pm-8am. Families and residents received details of the proposals on Saturday, August 31, and were given 48 hours warning to attend an open forum meeting on the Monday to discuss the changes.
The 12 members of staff at the care home have been assured they will not lose their jobs, but will instead be expected to work at a variety of care facilities in Wrexham at different times of the day.
The proposal was discussed at length by members of Rhos Community Council at a meeting last week, when members vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to save the round-the-clock care. They said a removal would leave the residents, some of whom suffer from dementia, extremely vulnerable.
Cllr Paul Pemberton said: “Like everyone we appreciate that cutbacks need to be made but our elderly and vulnerable people deserve better than this.
“My main concern is that the installation of a buzzer system in each flat leaves the residents extremely vulnerable because there could be anyone loitering around the doors.
“There has always been an on-site manager there who lets visitors into the building.”
There are currently about 10 unoccuppied flats on the premises out of a total of 30, and Cllr Pemberton said he was also worried that if “half a dozen residents” left due to the proposed changes, then the facility would be closed for good.
Rhos Community Council said it would be making strong representation to Wrexham Council with their objections to the proposals.
Kevin Hughes, director of supported living for the Pennaf Housing Group, which includes Clwyd Alyn Housing Association, said: “We’re aware the local authority has embarked on a consultation process with residents and their families over their proposals to remove 24-hour care from the Plas yn Rhos Sheltered Housing Scheme in Rhos. As landlords, we need to await the outcome of this consultation and will be working closely with the local authority over any implications of their future decisions.
“Plas yn Rhos will continue to operate as a sheltered housing scheme for the over 55s and we will support our tenants any way we are able with regards to our landlord’s responsibilities.”
Andrew Figiel, Wrexham Council’s head of adult social care and director of social services, said: “I fully recognise and understand that any proposed changes to services which people have come to value over a number of years is going to cause concerns to the tenants and their families.
“As a provider of services to elderly and vulnerable people we need to ensure the service is both modern and meets changing needs and demands.
“In order to achieve this we are consulting on proposals for the future delivery of the services we provide at Plas yn Rhos and we welcome their involvement in this process.
“I would like to reassure all the tenants and their families they will have every opportunity to provide their views and they will be fully involved in the proposals and delivery of a new and modern service.”