Bute respite care concerns: council’s full response

Argyll and Bute Council has responded to a series of questioned posed by The Buteman following our report of February 22 on the potential impact of the planned closure of the Struan Lodge care home in Dunoon on respite bed facilities.

Those concerns were raised by reader Caroline MacPhee, who asked if the council realised the full consequences of Struan Lodge’s closure, and whether Bute carers and their loved ones might have to travel to Lochgilphead for respite after the home’s doors are closed.

Council members voted narrowly on February 14 to pursue a ‘managed process of closure’ in respect of Struan Lodge.

Here are our questions and the council’s replies.

(1) Can you tell us the number of respite beds currently available in (i) Bute, (ii) Bute and Cowal?

“At the moment (mid-February 2013) there are 46 vacancies. Struan Lodge and Thomson Court have one dedicated respite bed respectively.

“On Friday 15 February these were the vacancies reported for Bute & Cowal areas: Struan Lodge, one permanent, one respite; Thomson Court, none; Ardenlee, nine; Ardnahein, nine; Ashgrove, 22; Invereck, two; Craigard, two permanent; Palm Court, none.”

[ For readers unfamiliar with some of the above names, only the council-run Thomson Court and the privately-owned Craigard and Palm Court facilities are located on Bute.]

(2) What plans (if any) does the council have to expand the provision of respite beds on Bute?

“Argyll and Bute Council is progressing a market test to clarify whether independent providers are interested in developing both nursing care beds and extra care sheltered housing on Bute and in other areas of the council.

“This would increase the number of specialist nursing beds on Bute both for long term care and respite.

“It is intended that the outcome of the market test will be reported to the adult care special committee in late April.

“There is spare care home capacity on Cowal to cover any planned closure of Struan Lodge for both long term and respite care.”

(3) What impact (if any) will the ‘managed closure process’ of Struan Lodge have on the provision of respite beds in Bute and Cowal?

“The ‘managed closure process’ would reduce the number of respite beds in Bute and Cowal by one.”

(4) What is the council’s policy on the provision of respite care facilities, and what national legislation or guidelines shape this policy?

“The Argyll and Bute Carers Strategy outlines the council’s commitment to providing respite for carers.

“The level of respite provided is agreed following a carer’s assessment. Respite can be provided in a care home or at home and the most appropriate type and level of respite is agreed with the carer.

“A review of care and respite arrangements is held six monthly or more frequently if required. Carers can request additional respite if at any time in response to an unexpected or unplanned changes in their circumstances.

“There is no legislation governing respite for carers. The Argyll and Bute Carers Strategy reflects the Carers Strategy for Scotland.”

* Private sector interest in additional care provision on Bute has previously been expressed by Bute Homes, the local firm behind plans for a 30-bed care home in Ascog.

Planning permission for the Ascog home was granted in September 2011, though work has not progressed beyond initial clearance of the site.