Two Luton day centres for elderly face closure after 'drastic decline' in attendances due to Covid-19

Two Luton day care centres for older people face closure after a “drastic” decline in attendances, largely due to Covid-19.

Friday, 25th September 2020, 1:59 pm
Updated Friday, 25th September 2020, 2:01 pm

The measures will contribute to the emergency budget savings, according to a report to the borough council’s scrutiny health and social care review group.

“People registered to attend these services continue to be offered a variety of other options within their own homes during this period,” said the report.

The pandemic has influenced the decision to remodel the older people day care service, it added.

St Monica's Day Centre in St Ives Close is one of the facilities facing closure

Service director of adult social care, Maud O’Leary, told the review group: “Unfortunately we have proposals to shut day centres in two locations, St Monica’s and Betty Dodd, which was previously known as Hockwell Day Centre.

“There’s a continuing decline in the number of people attending locations,” she said.

“We’ve reviewed the attendance and a lot of people only visit one or two days a week.

“Our proposal is to look at what other community activities we could offer them focusing on those who need services three or more days a week.

The day centre at Betty Dodd Court on Grange Avenue is also facing closure

“This would offer part of the overall savings which is about £1.1m to contribute to the whole £4.5m adult social care target.

“Our intention is to go out to consult with people through various ways over the next six weeks or so.”

It is understood the proposals would only affect the extra day care facilities at Betty Dodd Court, and not residents living there.

Conservative Bramingham councillor Gilbert Campbell asked: “Are we going to reopen them if and when this virus is taken care of?”

She replied: “We’re looking at day service provision for the elderly, but after the fresh (government) advice we’re reconsidering that now because these are older people with particular risks because of their age and frailty.

“Always our aim would be to open up the service even if it’s reduced in terms of numbers being seen.

“There are also issues over the need for transport and the risks of being together in vehicles, so it’s a work in progress.”

Councillor Campbell said: “The reasoning is I’m annoyed we seem to be closing the one and only Caribbean day centre in the town.”

There are currently four day care centres for older people Farley Day Centre, St Monica Day, Colwell Court and Betty Dodd, as well as Chaul End for younger adults.

Changes in adult social care were already being delivered through a programme called side-by-side, explained the report.

“Attendance figures within older people day care services have declined drastically over the last two years because of people choosing other options.”

Labour Limbury councillor Rob Roche called for every person, “about 70 people in the report”, to have “that consultation and conversation” to enable them to make their choice.

The service director adult social care said: “Some people will have dementia, so we’ll have to look at engaging advocates or other family members to get a sense of what will be right for them and what they might want to choose.”

The weekend service at Farley Day Centre could also be withdrawn.

The review group was asked to support the approach and proposals outlined in the report.