Fears for future of Harpenden care home after hours cut

Jennifer Grange.

Jennifer Grange. - Credit: Archant

A care worker is concerned that the elderly residents of an independent living facility will be “just looking at walls” after her hours were cut.

Jennifer Grange, 54, of Southdown Road, Harpenden, has been working as a carer in the town for 28 years. She has been working at Lea Springs Residential Care Home in Lower Luton Road for two years, and had her hours cut before Christmas from 28 to just seven.

Ms Grange said: “I do outings and trips and we raise all the money ourselves.

“I just feel what happens to the ones who are left behind? What they are saying is the residents now have to find their own activities or there’s a volunteer service.

“The thing that worries me as well is I have two friends who are nearly 70 and are activity workers and if they get their work cut who’s going to compensate their work?”

As she suffers from disabilities following a fall, Ms Grange is unable to do extra work, but after leaving her caring job on Tuesday, December 27 continues to help the Lea Springs residents on a voluntary basis.

She said: “The residents are just looking at walls. If they haven’t got commitments they are just going to feel like they’re vegetating in their flats and that’s not fair.

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“So much has been taken away from us. I had no warning. I have been in Harpenden my whole life, my heart is with the community.

“It’s really knocked me on the head, it’s knocked me back.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “Hertfordshire County Council commissions Housing and Care 21 to deliver a flexicare housing scheme at Lea Springs in Harpenden where people live independently with the help of flexible onsite care and support.

“The scheme aims to help people keep their home or tenancy whilst also helping them avoid or delay going into residential care.

“Last year we reduced the number of hours spent on activities at Lea Springs, in agreement with Housing and Care 21, as this was high in comparison with other schemes in the county.

“This is part of a wider review of flexicare we are currently undertaking, in line with requirements of the Care Act. The review will enable us to make more person centred care plans which focus more on helping people to achieve their personal goals and aims than on time spent and activities delivered.”