Care home which lost 11 residents to coronavirus closes suddenly

Beechlawn residential home in Ipswich, which has closed its doors Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Beechlawn residential home in Ipswich, which has closed its doors Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A care home has closed its doors after the council pulled out 12 residents and 11 died with Covid-19.

Bosses decided to shut Beechlawn Residential Home, in Elton Park, Ipswich, after losing almost all of their customers.

When health regulator the Care Quality Commission visited the home in June last year, there were 23 people living there.

During the pandemic, 11 people died with coronavirus, and at the end of last month, Suffolk County Council (SCC) removed 12 residents.

Those remaining were either housed at the company’s sister premises, Thurleston Residential Home, or found care elsewhere.

• ‘Ongoing concerns’ about quality of care

Rated ‘requires improvement’ by the CQC last July, SCC said it had been receiving ongoing concerns about the quality of care provided at the home.

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One relative, who did not want to be named, said Beechlawn had been under investigation by authorities for a while.

“There were several changes in management over five years; saying that, the managers and staff were brilliant,” he said.

“During the pandemic, things went from bad to worse.

“There were lots of deaths,” he added.

The relative also said there were concerns over whether the home was using PPE appropriately, but SCC and the home’s management said they had not had any complaints raised directly with them.

• What did the authorities have to say?

Adult social care chiefs said the decision to remove 12 of their customers from Beechlawn was made at the end of last month.

“We moved our 12 care customers from Beechlawn as we had concerns regarding the ongoing quality of care provided within the home, including concerns surrounding building maintenance and health and safety,” said Beccy Hopfensperger, SCC’s cabinet member for adult care.

“All 12 people are now receiving suitable care in other homes.”

She added that the home had access to the dedicated cell of PPE supplies run by SCC throughout the pandemic.

The home’s owners, Leafoak Limited, confirmed that they had lost 11 residents to coronavirus during the pandemic and said that once SCC had removed their tenants, the decision was made to close the home.

A spokesman added: “While there were concerns with the building environment, there were not any health and safety breaches or building maintenance concerns.”

MORE: How prepared are our care homes for a coronavirus second wave?They also said they were not aware of any concerns being raised with them about PPE during the pandemic.

Back in April, we reported that the home had a number of suspected coronavirus cases.The CQC said they had not inspected Beechlawn during the pandemic due to current restrictions, but added that they had been concerned about certain aspects of care during their most recent visit in June 2019.