Torwoodhall Care Home, Carronvale Road, has had glowing reports from the Care Commission for the high quality care it gives residents and the home came through the recent pandemic without any cases of Covid-19.
However, members of Falkirk’s Integrated Joint Board (IJB) – which oversees health and social care – heard that the old building was proving difficult to adapt to the challenges of infection control.
The home, which has 18 beds for adults with mental health needs, was being discussed as part of Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership’s review of bed-based care, which was started before the pandemic hit.
However, Torwoodhall is one of the HSCP’s oldest buildings offering residential care and the pandemic means there is now “an element of urgency to look at alternative settings”.
In particular, there is now a requirement to create “zones” within the buildings – something that is proving impossible in Torwoodhall.
Chief Officer Patricia Cassidy said: “This is not about the quality of care. It’s testament to everyone involved that there was no Covid transmission among residents but what we are considering is how we would be able to respond should that occur.”
The review and redesign will look at care homes as part of the whole service – and the hope is it will change the culture so fewer people end up in residential care.
Martin Thom, HSCP manager, said: “We’ve always know that people thrive more in their own homes than they do in residential homes.
“And we know that Falkirk places many more people into care homes than the national average, so we planned to review this anyway. Covid particularly affected our care homes, which are by their very nature not clinical settings.
“It’s really important that we put in strong infection control measures and that we zone people when people have signs and symptoms of Covid.
“Some care homes are better set up to do that than others and zoning in Torwoodhall would be really difficult.”
Members of the IJB stressed that any changes would involve talking to each resident and their families first.
Staff and trade unions will also be consulted but no jobs are at risk.