Sheltered housing complexes need full-time wardens to carry out daily face to face checks on residents to ensure their safety.
That’s the call from John McLaughlan, resident warden at Cooil Roi sheltered housing, in Laxey.
It follows an announcement from Onchan Commissioners, revealed on iomtoday last week, that it is reviewing warden provision at its sheltered housing accommodation at Springfield Court and Heywood Court following a petition from residents.
A petition with 48 signatures was presented to commissioners following the retirement of a full-time warden at Springfield Court late last year, leaving only a part-time warden.
Mr McLaughlan said: ‘I have repeatedly opposed any attempt of introducing a morning phone call to check on residents.
‘Basically I do not have X-ray vision, so unless I have face to face contact I cannot tell if that particular resident is well or not as they are most likely to say they are fine if they only receive a phone call.
‘Since I took up the position of resident warden I have had two situations where if I had not been here those residents would have died.
‘I have also experienced situations where I’ve been on a morning round to see residents and found someone lying on the floor after falling.’
He said that care alarms should not replace a round check.
‘We do have care alarms here but some residents have a tendency to leave these alarm buttons on a bedside cabinet or on a table then when they fall they are unable to reach the alarm,’ he said.
He explained that the criteria for sheltered housing is that the resident must be able to look after themselves.
When they get to a point in their lives where they cannot cope then they are supposed to move on to residential care or nursing care.
‘This does not normally happen as most government agencies think that the warden is there to look after elderly people who are finding it difficult to cope,’ he said.
‘What most bureaucrats forget is that when a resident initially arrives into sheltered housing they are more than capable of looking after themselves.
‘But over the years as they get older they become less capable and that is where the warden comes into play.’
Mr McLaughlan retires from his role as warden in December.
‘I would dread to think that the residents I have looked after are going to be left with just one phone call each morning because someone sitting in an office wants to save money at the expense of someone’s life,’ he said.
Onchan Commissioners’ review is looking at staffing arrangements at both complexes as well as technology that could benefit residents.
Chairman Rob Callister says systems are already in place to ensure help would arrive quickly when needed.