The future of two council-run residential homes for people with learning disabilities will go before the county council’s cabinet on 16 January.Both 25-27a Alexandra Road in Weymouth and Douglas Jackman House in Dorchester have been found to fall below modern standards in terms of physical layout, and if Cabinet agrees, a review to modernise the service will begin.
Options include finding alternative supported housing in the local community that may better meet the needs of the residents.
The review follows an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who found that staff were caring and supportive. However, they also noted that the homes did not meet modern standards in terms of facilities such as communal areas and private space.
There are 32 places across the two homes, but currently 10 of the places are vacant. This is making the homes financially unviable in the long run.
Most adults with a learning disability no longer want to live in residential homes. Instead, both they and their carers prefer cluster flats where people have their own self contained flats next to other people with learning disabilities.
The residents at the homes, their relatives and staff have been informed about the review and will be consulted before any decisions are made. Social workers are currently carrying out assessments of residents living at the homes to ensure they will receive the best possible care in the future.
The council is also reviewing a third home, Phoenix House in Blandford, which has 10 long-term residential places for people with learning disabilities and 6 short term places.
Cllr Andrew Cattaway, cabinet member for adult social care at Dorset County Council, said:
“In Dorset, we have considerable experience in developing supported housing in the community. In recent years, 54 former residents of long-term hospital provision have successfully moved into cluster flats and enjoy the freedom and choices this gives them.
“This approach is also in line with the Government’s guidelines for providing the best possible care and is also a more cost effective service.
“The council will explore options for alternative supported individual housing for the residents as part of the review, and also look at suitable local residential homes for the people who would struggle to live independently.”
The proposals include offering many of the residents from Alexandra Rd places at a nearby property at Carlton Rd North, Weymouth, which is currently under construction. Once completed in early 2014, the building will provide 15 flats suitable for adult with learning disabilities. As well as giving the residents more choice and control, they would also benefit from opportunities to live more independently in a supported community.
Alternative accommodation for the residents of Douglas Jackman House would also be self-contained flats with communal spaces in the Dorchester area.
A formal consultation period will take place before any final decisions are made.
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