Care home closure plan unveiled by Kent County Council

Councillor Graham Gibbens said most people wanted to live at home for as long as possible

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Care homes for elderly people in Kent could close under plans to change older people's care in the county.

A public consultation on the changes will start next Monday and continue until November.

Kent County Council (KCC) said the proposals reflected two priorities - providing good quality care and making the best use of resources.

The authority confirmed the changes would also save them about £2m each year.

Councillor Graham Gibbens said current care homes were not suitable and would cost too much to improve.

The cabinet member for adult social services, said: "Dignity and good quality care are both absolutely crucial when it comes to caring for older people. No one should have to settle for less - either for themselves or for someone they care about."

He added: "These proposals are about creating a legacy of dignity, quality care and a quality environment for all older people now and in the future.

"They are also about saving money so that we can continue to protect services wherever possible."

PROPOSALS FOR KCC HOMES

  • Sell Wayfarers to another organisation to run
  • Set up a partnership to run some services at Blackburn Lodge, Doubleday Lodge, and Kiln Court
  • Replace Bowles Court, Cornfields and Manorbrooke with extra care housing
  • Close Ladesfield, Sampson Court, The Limes and Lawrence House
  • Develop a specialist dementia unit at Broadmeadow
  • Keep the Dorothy Lucy Centre as it is with a decision about its future to be made later

KCC said more people were living longer, some with dementia, and more people needed care as they got older.

The council said more people wanted to be cared for at home and it was committed to making this happen where appropriate.

KCC wants to provide extra care housing, where people can live in their own homes in a shared building with access to 24-hour care and facilities.

Where residential care was needed, KCC said it would work with the private and voluntary sector to provide this.

It said its own buildings had reached the end of their lives and did not meet expectations such as offering each resident an en-suite bathroom. Many were constructed more than 30 years ago.

The proposals affect Wayfarers, Sandwich; Blackburn Lodge, Sheerness; Doubleday Lodge, Sittingbourne; Kiln Court, Faversham; Bowles Lodge, Hawkhurst; Cornfields, Dover; Manorbrooke, Dartford; Ladesfield, Whitstable; Sampson Court, Deal; The Limes, Dartford; Lawrence House, Folkestone; Broadmeadow, Folkestone; and the Dorothy Lucy Centre, Maidstone.

A decision on the plans is expected in January next year.

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