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New care home will absorb latest thinking on dementia care

Monday, 15th March 2010.

New thinking about how buildings can help people with dementia will inform the design of the new residential care home to replace Place Court in Haverhill.

Ian Patterson of Suffolk County Council's social care services department explained the thinking behind replacing the county's care homes to members of Haverhill Partnership meeting last week.

Place Court is one of three across Suffolk to be replaced in the first phase, funded through private finance initiatives, which is not expected to be completed until 2015.

All three will re-use the sites of redundant schools, in Haverhill's case Chalkstone Middle School.

Mr Patterson said changes in demography in the next few years would mean an increase in the numbers of older people and the numbers with dementia.

Although all the county's care homes had been adjudged good or excellent, requirements were now changing.

"There has been a lot of new thinking about how buildings can help people with dementia," he said.

Among the ingredients would be a lot of natural light, noise reduction technology and safe outside space.

There was currently a low level of provision in Haverhill for residential care in general and also of dementia care.

"There is a highly-trained workforce at Place Court, which is well regarded," he said.

The new home would be able to accommodate 65 residents, as opposed to Place Court's current 31. But they would be divided into small clusters of five or six, which was another technique being developed to reduce confusion for people with dementia.

Place Court manager Becky Abbink told partnership members both staff and residents were very interested in the new scheme.

They had had a meeting and people were very glad the replacement home was to be in Haverhill still.

Current Place Court residents would have the option of transferring to the new home, which would be begun in 2013 and take a couple of years to complete.

The Place Court site would be sold for redevelopment.

Haverhill Town Council, which owns adjacent Bevan House, has had some discussions about including that in the redevelopment, and has adjusted its lease to the Red Cross to allow for flexibility if the opportunity arises.

Town clerk Gordon Mussett asked Mr Patterson if there would be an opportunity for the county to work with other services on the new site, but was told it was a tight design allowing little 'wriggle-room'.

But he said all suggestions would be looked at as part of the county's public consultation on the scheme which has already started and ends on April 26.

Haverhill Online News

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