No mercy in closure of St Albans Christian care home

Former Senior Carer Carol Sargeant, Maintenace Manager Rom Decruz and Deputy Home manager Amber Seab

Former Senior Carer Carol Sargeant, Maintenace Manager Rom Decruz and Deputy Home manager Amber Seabrook are unhappy about the Maryland Convent and Care Home being closed down - Credit: Archant

Three vulnerable elderly residents are understood to have died around the time of being forced to move from their Christian care home, which is closing down in St Albans.

The sudden axeing of Maryland Care Home in Townsend Drive has brought a scathing response from loyal staff made redundant and relatives of residents who regarded Maryland as their final home.

Most of the 29 elderly people and sisters living there have now been uprooted, with just a few to be relocated to other homes ahead of Maryland’s closure at the end of this month.

A last-ditch bid to save the home, launched by staff, has been rejected by its operators, the Sisters of Mercy trustees.

Valerie Benham, daughter of a long-term resident forced to move last week, said: “Our family has been totally distressed at the brutal way in which this whole exercise has been executed.”

She said her family had supported the efforts of a staff-led group which has been trying to keep Maryland open.

Valerie added: “We feel passionately that this is the very best place for our frail mother.”

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Sources have told the Herts Ad that two residents died just before being relocated, and a third died within 24 hours of moving to another home.

Among those affected by the closure is Amber Seabrook, who had resigned from a secure six-year job at another care home in St Albans to take up a role as Maryland’s new deputy home manager on November 5.

But one month later, 49 employees suddenly received redundancy notices.

Amber said a proposal to keep the home running had been “casually dismissed”.

In an emotional stakeholders’ petition sent on behalf of staff to trustees, they said: “We can’t understand the undue haste in closing the home with all the consequences it will trigger, especially for a number of highly vulnerable and frail residents.”

A spokesman for the trustees said although it was a “very painful decision,” Maryland had to close as it would cost millions of pounds to update the home to required standards.

Trustees had worked “closely” with families, Herts county council and the Care Quality Commission while relocating residents, including from the convent which is also closing.

While trustees understood staff anger, “the majority have secured alternative jobs”.

The spokesman said that “sadly” two residents had died recently but “this is not an unusual occurrence in a care home like Maryland.

“One resident passed away shortly after she was relocated.”

He said it was “likely” the site would be sold.

A last mass will be held at Maryland on Saturday (15).