‘Thomson Court gave my dad his life back’

Thomson Court.Day Centre is under threat following plans to close the service, replacing it with an 'in-home' or 'in the community' befrienders-style alternative.
Thomson Court.Day Centre is under threat following plans to close the service, replacing it with an 'in-home' or 'in the community' befrienders-style alternative.

An island resident has spoken of the tremendous support Thomson Court Day Centre has given her family, following news of the service’s impending closure.

Ellen Lambert spoke of the staff’s support – and of her family’s trust in them.

Her story comes one week after we reported on plans by the Integrated Joint Board of Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) to remove the day service at Thomson Court, replacing it with support at home or in the community instead.

The move will also result in the loss of three posts – one senior care worker and two social care workers.

Ellen’s mother, Beth Southgate, is now a resident of Thomson Court, but first used the day service following her dementia diagnosis.

Ellen said: “Her condition deteriorated really fairly quickly.

“To start with she couldn’t remember things she’d been told but later she would ask a question, you’d answer, and then two minutes later you’d be asked again. This could go on for hours.”

The day centre also made a huge difference to Ellen’s late father, Deryck.

She explained: “For 18 hours a day he was responsible for her, but, during the day, he had a few hours to just relax or watch a bit of television.

“These are simple things, but it wasn’t until he got it that he realised how much he had lost.

“He told me and other members of my family how it had given him back a life.”

Ellen has high praise for the staff at the centre.

“You get consistency of care, it’s assured.” she said. “By and large it’s the same people doing the same kind of care – that’s very important to us.

“You build trust and relationships with the staff, and their support of us has been amazing.

“My dad had a mini stroke while on the phone to someone who told him he wasn’t making any sense, and that he needed to call for help.

“He called Thomson Court and someone came round and helped him.

“That might not be strictly relevant to the day centre but it shows how deeply his trust ran with Thomson Court.”

HSCP will be entering into a six-month consultation with staff and service users ahead of any final decision.

A petition (available online and in hard copy format) has been set-up in attempts to reverse the proposals. At the time of writing, the online petition had attracted nearly 800 signatures. You can add your name to it by clicking here.