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2 Sep 2016
Here's how Laurel Gardens, one of our extra care schemes in Hartlepool, provides vital support to its residents and how Government changes could impact on the scheme.
Laurel Gardens is a purpose built extra care scheme in Hartlepool designed to facilitate independent living within the community for over 55s.
Completed in 2010, the development provides modern living alongside the provision of bespoke care and support packages. The facilities on site include a full time manager, residents’ lounge, bistro, hair salon, shop and outside gardens, with a lift and staircase to all floors.
Within Laurel Gardens, accommodation is mixed-tenure; 30 two-bedroom flats for rent through Housing Hartlepool, plus 15 shared ownership and 15 owned outright. There is also a ‘respite flat’ for interim care and recovery outside of a hospital setting.
Commissioned by Hartlepool Borough Council, care is provided 24/7 by Comfort Call through personal support plans which are reviewed every 6 months. Residents have varied support needs including dementia, learning difficulties, mental and physical health requirements.
Betty moved in to Laurel Gardens after a number of stressful and unnecessary visits to hospital because of missed night time medication, which triggered regular bouts of pain and anxiety.
Now 94, Betty, who is registered blind and has dementia, was struggling to find anyone who could accommodate for her support needs and assist her with taking her medication.
She was moved in to a rehabilitation flat at Laurel Gardens for a period of respite care where staff on site were on hand to manage her medication and other daily care needs.
After settling in immediately at the scheme, Betty’s daughter Marilynn asked if her mum could move in permanently.
Betty secured a fully accessible flat and continues to thrive at Laurel Gardens. Since moving in permanently, she has only been admitted to hospital twice and has minimised the number of distress calls each night.
Staff members are not only Betty’s support workers to provide vital care and maintain her health and safety, but also her friends who ensure that she continues to be a valued member of the community.
Costs and LHA Cap impact
The weekly rent on a property in Laurel Gardens is £99.51, plus a £45.69 service charge, which covers a range of costs, including lift maintenance, fire safety measures, upkeep of communal facilities.
Under current Housing Benefit rules, most of the tenants in Laurel Gardens qualify for the cost of their accommodation to be covered in full.
However, despite their requirement for specialist accommodation, under the LHA Cap, vulnerable people like Betty will receive a maximum of only £97.81 per week (provided they require the two bedrooms under DWP guidelines), leaving them to find the shortfall of almost £2,500 per year. This could cause serious hardship and leave them not being able to afford the cost of their homes.
Extra care accommodation gives comfort, support and hope to so many people and their families. For Thirteen, if all tenants at Laurel Gardens were subject to the LHA cap, the potential shortfall in income per year is in the region of £56,000.00, putting both the services we provide there, and the viability of the scheme in serious jeopardy.