A HOUSE used as a respite home is being recommended for closure following a review of how adults with learning disabilities and their carers are supported.
Budden Crescent in Caldicot is a registered respite care home run by Monmouthshire County Council which opened in 1992 to provide short break accommodation for adults with learning disabilities when their regular carers are unable to do so or when they require a break.
The home was temporarily closed in early April 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, and while it was used for an emergency children’s services placement from September 2021 to June last year, it has remained closed while the council’s review was carried out.
That review is now recommending the authority’s Labour-led cabinet agrees to its closure along with a number of other recommendations in relation to the respite service when it meets on Wednesday, September 6.
It’s estimated the changes could save the council £248,445 a year, with the revamped respite support costing it £179,837 annually rather than £428,282 at present, which includes the full costs of Budden Cresent. Some savings in the first year could be used for improving wheelchair-accessible support and work is under way on estimating the costs of allowing people to select their own respite options.
According to the council, demand at Budden Crescent has been reducing since 2018 with more families choosing other options for respite care or due to previous users moving into a care home and supported living settings or moving out of the county.
In 2019 it said 13 people received respite care at the home, of the eight people currently assessed as requiring residential respite care, two are receiving residential respite but would prefer to use Budden Crescent if available. A further four aren’t currently receiving respite and say the home is the only option they will consider. Two people are receiving respite and are satisfied with their current provider.
All are receiving other support at home and day services and have an allocated social worker.
Alternative residential respite care has been provided in Blaenau Gwent and Newport and the report states it is possible the city council’s Centrica Lodge would be open to entering a longer-term arrangement, with numbers receiving residential respite having started to increase since 2021.
Based on the six people who prefer, or who would only consider Budden Crescent, it would only be occupied for 182 nights of the year which is around 25 per cent of the home’s capacity, according to the council.
While it is predicted the number of people with a learning disability in Monmouthshire will increase by 54.5 per cent by 2035 the council said if demand for Budden Crescent remains the same that would only increase its use to 273 nights which is 37 per cent capacity.
A consultation with service users, which showed overall support for six of the eight recommendations on the respite service as a whole, found a lack of overall support on refocusing it so people could access respite in a range of different homes including in neighbouring counties and 61 per cent, or 11 of 18 respondents, disagreed with closing Budden Crescent.
The consultation found: “For some respondents there is no alternative to the safety, comfort, and local nature of Budden Crescent. People commented warmly of their experiences at this service.”
Staff from the centre, who are all women, said they felt they had been treated “unfairly and poorly supported” during its temporary closure and that previous changes have led to a reduction in the use of the home and that people have been directed to other services and centres without having the option of using Budden Crescent.
The council has said it will address concerns around support for staff “as a priority”.
The eight recommendations to improve respite support overall are to:
- Expand the range of supported holidays offered including for those in wheelchairs or with higher needs.;
- Refocus residential respite so people can access a range of homes including in neighbouring counties;
- Cease to provide residential respite at Budden Crescent;
- Extend the Shared Lives support, where people offer support in their homes, to specifically enable wheelchair users or those with higher level care needs to take part;
- Develop a respite at home option for people who would prefer to remain at home when their family are away;
- Promote and increase the uptake of Direct Payments so people can pay for and arrange their own care;
- Develop a range of robust emergency respite options including Shared Lives, residential and respite at home.