Days short of her 89th birthday and seriously ill with dementia, Dorothy Butterworth has been forced to leave her nursing home and relocate twice in a week.
She is one of 33 victims of the Cuerden Grange Nursing Home closure, decided on by owners after inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found serious problems with the £742 a week facility.
Hours before the home in Bamber Bridge was shut last week, the only suitable place that could be found for Dorothy was in St Annes, and her devoted husband William, 90, had to spend four hours a day commuting on four different buses and walk half a mile to reach her.
Since the Evening Post became involved in the case, Mrs Butterworth was offered a room at Longton Nursing Home and moved yesterday.
Mr Butterworth, a retired service manager of Fir Trees Avenue, Lostock Hall, said the 30-mile journeys had reduced him to tears.
He said: “The strain on me was terrible. To do that journey regularly when you’re as old as me isn’t funny and it’s pretty obvious I was not going to be able to keep going regularly.”
It was all right at first, but a lot of things could have been better. They weren’t monitoring if her medicine patches were staying on and many a time I’d go at find them on the floor.Harry Butterworth
Dorothy, a former shop worker, moved to Cuerden Grange in February after falling at home.
Mr Butterworth said: “It was all right at first, but a lot of things could have been better. They weren’t monitoring if her medicine patches were staying on and many a time I’d go at find them on the floor.
“They were employing kids who don’t have the experience to deal with ill elderly people.”
Owners of the home said the decision to close was because they were unable to recruit suitable nurses. The CQC said inspectors found “serious concerns” at the home, but were unable to provide details.
Mr Butterworth spent hours on the phone trying unsuccessfully to find another home nearby and the night before the home closed, social workers said they had only been able to find spaces in Blackburn, Ormskirk or St Annes.
He said he was told that if he didn’t choose one of those homes, LCC would take over placing his wife.
Mr Butterworth, who has no children and can’t drive because of glaucoma, chose St Annes and had to walk to catch a bus on Leyland Road and travel to Preston Bus Station.
There he had to get a bus to St Annes and walk quarter of a mile to the home. Mrs Butterworth’s care is costing the couple £632 a week, with LCC contributing £112 towards nursing care.
He said: “All my savings will be gone in two years. I never missed a day’s work in my life and that’s how you get treated.
“There’s all these talks about the Government privatising health care, but they’ve already privatised nursing homes. LCC don’t own one nursing home and I think it’s a disgrace. When people need help most, the Government have opted out completely.
“How can they justify billions buying a third nuclear submarine when they’re leaving old people to die like this? It’s an utter disgrace.”
Tony Pounder, director of Adult Services at LCC, said: “In the wake of the owner’s decision to close Cuerden Grange, our staff worked very hard with our partners to make sure that all residents’ needs were assessed, and to find them suitable alternative homes where they will get a high standard of nursing care.
“The number of places in nursing homes is limited which meant that as a temporary measure Mrs Butterworth had to go to a home some distance away, which we appreciate was not an ideal long-term solution.
“Our staff have continued to work with the family and we are very pleased that Mrs Butterworth will be moving to a nursing home in Longton, chosen by Mr Butterworth.”