'You'd treat an animal better' - fury as mum given 24 hours to leave home

Daughters of an elderly woman have slammed the decision to give her just 24 hours to leave her care home - but the council insist it is only temporary.

Hazel Garth care home in Knottingley, near Wakefield, contacted the families of its residents, some of whom have dementia and are on end of life care, on Thursday, May 24, to tell them they need to find alternative accommodation immediately.

Now, two sisters have slammed Wakefield Council's handling of the situation fuming: "She's not a piece of furniture that can just be moved and plonked in another house, she's a person at the end of the day, you wouldn't treat your pets like that."

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In November last year, a report said that the care home required urgent upgrade work, including new fire doors as well as other maintenance. Hazel Garth was banned from accepting new residents to the 24-bed care home until the work was carried out.

However, the residents and their families were not given notice as to when the work would be carried out would be carried out. Then, on May 24 they received a phone call informing them they had 24 hours to find their loved ones somewhere else to live.

The shock announcement left the residents and their families distressed as they rallied round to try and find new homes.

Sharron Dickinson, 63, from Castleford, is the daughter of one of its longest standing residents, Patricia Broomhead, 87. She said she and her sister Jackie Hayday, 51, were devastated when they received their phone call.

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Pat has dementia and is on end of life care at Hazel Garth. She is so ill, the doctors advised against moving her so she is currently the only resident at the home. Sharron told Yorkshire Live: "Mum has been at Hazel Garth for seven years, she's been really happy there, my sister chose the nursing home because she managed to escape from the previous home she was in.

"She isn't mobile anymore but we have complete peace of mind knowing she is safe and looked after at Hazel Garth. The staff are great, they are so friendly, they're all one big family. They are amazing to mum, they look after us when we go and visit.

"On Thursday morning my sister Jackie got a call from someone in social services, she was in a meeting at the time but with mum being on end of life care every phone call about mum, your heart just sinks.

"The lady then informed Jackie that the nursing home was closing and we had 24 hours to get mum out. We were just gobsmacked.

"Jackie rang the care home straight away and the woman she spoke to on the phone in the office knew nothing about it. As soon as Jackie finished work, we went up there. Luckily we live locally, one lady had to drive up five hours from Surrey.

"Nobody really knew what was happening, it was all very stressful. We were trying to console everybody and get to grips with what was going on, the staff didn't know, it was like Chinese whispers.

"On Friday morning Jackie got a phone call again to say you better get up here because transport has been arranged for all of the residents to move out into alternative nursing homes. We went up and from there on we have been trying to find mum a nursing home."

Sharron continued: "It's just been horrendous they way the council have handled this. They haven't helped in anyway, these are vulnerable residents. The social worker who was allocated to mum and another lady were helpful given the situation but the options we were given just were not suitable for mum and her needs.

"We were told there is one down the M1 and we said 'no absolutely not'. She is on end of life care, we need to be near her if we get a phone call to come in. Where she is now, we can be there in 10 minutes, it makes a big difference.

"We have now found her a nursing home. She was meant to be moving in to the new home tomorrow but she is currently not very well, she currently doesn't want to get out of bed, she's saying nobody loves her, nobody wants her, it's awful.

"She spent all day yesterday in bed, she isn't really eating, she's taking small sips of water, she's really distressed. Today the district nurse has now said she is not fit to travel so everything is now being postponed and she is going to be reassessed on Monday.

"It's just atrocious what everybody is going through, four of the residents were shipped out last Friday, the families were just told this is where they are going and that's it. We know of two of the families who have said they haven't really settled in their new nursing homes. The lady whose family are in Surrey is being transferred down there to be closer to her family.

"So my mum is the only one left in the nursing home at the moment, obviously she has dementia but she does know what's happening, you don't know is she just giving up because of this? It's heartbreaking.

"We have been told it's a temporary closure but what happens to the vulnerable residents in the mean time? They are being treated worse than animals. If they knew from last November it was unsafe, why have we not been given the statutory 28 days notice?

"If they would have done this the right way it would have saved the residents and the families a lot of stress and upset, we would have had time to come to terms with it, time to find a suitable no home and get mum used to the idea.

"She's not a piece of furniture that can just be moved and plonked in another house, she's a person at the end of the day, you wouldn't treat your pets like that."

"We have been given a million different reasons as to why this is happening, every time you talk to somebody there's different excuse. It's just a living nightmare. It's just horrendous."

A spokesperson for Wakefield Council said: "Wakefield Council has confirmed the closure of a care home in Knottingley will only be temporary. The council made the decision to temporarily close Hazel Garth Care Home last week to provide the best level of safe care for residents.

"This was due to a combination of the care needs of residents, the physical condition of the building, and staff availability. Since the decision, the council has been working intensively with the families of six residents to find them new homes.

"Alternative places have now been identified for all residents and the council will be working closely with their families to support them as they settle into their new homes. The council can now confirm that the building will reopen. That the jobs of staff who work at Hazel Garth are safe. And that there will be no compulsory redundancies as part of the temporary closure."

Jo Webster, corporate director adults, health and communities at Wakefield Council, said: “We’re sorry that we’ve had to make the difficult decision to move those we’ve been caring for at Hazel Garth to alternative accommodation.

“The safety and wellbeing of everyone in our care homes will always be our top priority. That has always been at the heart of every decision we’ve made. And at the moment we can provide a higher level of care in alternative settings.

“Hazel Garth Care Home is not permanently closing. We remain committed to care provision on the site. As we support the six residents in settling into their new homes, our focus will then be continuing to work closely with our staff and the trade unions to put arrangements in place that will help us provide the best level of care at Hazel Garth going forward.”