Elderly fear loss of new facility

PUBLISHED: 19:29 25 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:22 06 May 2010

WORRIED residents of a home for the elderly fear they will lose their brand-new drop-in coffee lounge to make way for newcomers from the Jubilee Centre. The lounge at Vesta Lodge in St Albans was opened this year and has proved popular with residents who

WORRIED residents of a home for the elderly fear they will lose their brand-new drop-in coffee lounge to make way for newcomers from the Jubilee Centre.

The lounge at Vesta Lodge in St Albans was opened this year and has proved popular with residents who come together to meet and chat on a daily basis.

But they fear that the lounge will be converted to accommodate 10 elderly and disabled people who have been using day-care facilities provided by Herts County Council at the Jubilee Centre in St Albans which are earmarked for closure.

Their concerns have been compounded by lack of consultation with their families about the situation by either the county council, which is proposing to use a lounge at Vesta Lodge for people displaced from the Jubilee Centre, or Quantum Care which runs the home.

Mark Welland, whose father is a resident of Vesta Lodge, said that before the kitchen had been refurbishished, the room which is now the coffee lounge had been available but was not used on such a regular basis as it was now.

When it opened as a coffee lounge, his mother had been told unequivocally by a member of staff that it was not for people from the Jubilee Centre but for residents' own use.

He described it as very popular with the residents of the four wings at Vesta Lodge because it gave them a chance to see different faces and sit in different surroundings.

But a lack of communication with residents had fuelled fears that the coffee lounge would house people from the Jubilee Centre, particularly as it was suitable for use as a self-contained unit.

He had since been told that if that happened, a sun lounge at Vesta Lodge could be developed and extended to include its own kitchen for residents.

A spokesperson for Quantum Care said they were still working with the county council to decide how best the service for people from the Jubilee Centre could be provided at Vesta Lodge.

He said Quantum operated a number of similar day care centres in other homes which benefited both residents and those who used the service.and admitted that the café facilities would be relocated if that became necessary.

He also confirmed that when a final decision had been reached, the matter would be discussed with residents, relatives and staff at Vesta Lodge.

A spokesperson for the county council said that the coffee lodge had been paid for by them through a grant for enhancing residential care homes.

He added: "We understand how important this is for residents and their families and we will be reproviding the facility elsewhere in the building."

He pledged there would be "no negative impact" on the care provided at Vesta Lodge by housing some of the Jubilee Centre users there.

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