Old Coulsdon elderly care home to become mental health unit
THE site of a shuttered old people's home in Old Coulsdon is to open as a care home for adults with mental problems.
The building formerly occupied by The Shaw care home, in Tollers Lane, is to open next month as a 20-bed home run by Community Housing and Therapy, a private care provider.
The home will add to the London company's eighth and will aim to help mental health sufferers recover and regain their independence.
John Gale, head of the 20-year-old company, told the Advertiser residents could have a range of serious mental health problems, including psychosis, anxiety and severe depression.
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He added that his homes typically served NHS patients – 43 NHS trusts refer patients, according to its last annual report – although it works with a minority of private patients.
Mr Gale said: "If you have a mental illness in the UK and you are hard up you get treated by the NHS probably solely with drugs.
"If you are a well-off person you will pay for psychotherapy, and all the research shows when you ask people what kind of treatment they want, they say they want someone to talk to.
"We are trying to make available to people without lots of money the treatment that someone with lots of money would have."
The new home does not require change of use planning permission, because its use falls into the same category as adult residential care. Mr Gale said it should be open in early December, after refurbishments are finished.
He added that neighbours in the surrounding village would also be invited into the home, and the company hopes to build good relations with them. He said: "What we usually do is to make a friends' committee and involve people.
He said the home accepted people aged 18 to 65 but they tended to be in their 30s, and they tended to stay for around 14 months.
He said: "We are trying to find out what is the optimal period because we know if people stay too long they become institutionalised, but if it is too short then the treatment does not work for them.
"We have reviews every three months and set targets and try and get them to achieve certain goals. On average it is about 14 months, but it depends."
He explained the company had chosen the site in order to increase its presence in south London, and via a long-standing relationship with the owners of the outgoing old people's home, Central and Cecil Housing Trust.
The Shaw care home closed at the end of March after Central and Cecil said the building at 169 Tollers Lane was not fit for purpose and it could not afford refurbishment.