Londonderry: Family 'concerned' over care home relocation

A close up of the legionella bacteriaImage source, Science Photo Library
Image caption,
The home said that there has not been an outbreak of legionnaire's disease

A Londonderry man has said he is "concerned and annoyed" that his mother and uncle are to be moved from a care home after legionella was discovered in its water.

It was discovered at Greenhaw Lodge Care Centre in Derry on 8 September.

Thirty-nine residents will now be relocated.

While the bacteria is present, there has not been an outbreak of legionnaire's disease, the home said.

Care home regulator, the RQIA, said alternative accommodation would now be provided during "remedial works".

Ciaran Murray, whose mother and uncle live at Greenhaw, told BBC Radio Foyle his family are now waiting to hear what happens next.

He said: "As I understand it they cannot resolve this issue safely while the residents are still in the home.

"We are obviously concerned as a family and we are annoyed my mum is going to be moved from that location".

What is legionella?

  • A strain of bacteria commonly found in water
  • It multiplies where temperatures are between 20-45°C and nutrients are available
  • If bacteria are inhaled, it can lead to Legionnaires' disease - a potentially fatal type of pneumonia
  • Those more at risk include the elderly, smokers, alcoholics and those with cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory or kidney disease

The family have been unable to visit in person since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Instead visits have taken place "through a window', he added.

He said despite "trying to be pragmatic" he was worried about his mum, who lives with dementia, being relocated.

"It is pretty concerning for everybody and we are very keen to see mum stay in the Derry area," he said.

In a statement on Wednesday, Greenhaw Lodge, which is run by Larchwood Care Homes, said: "We sincerely apologise to our residents and their families for the inconvenience that this will cause.

"Our staff's immediate priority is to update the families of residents and manage their safe rehoming, with as little disruption as possible.

"This is being managed in partnership with Western Health and Social Care Trust, and RQIA.

"We will use this time to upgrade the facility in line with the modern requirements needed for the longer term well-being of the residents in our care".