The Commissioner was asked to intervene in a dispute between families of residents of a hospital ward in the community when the Health and Social Care Trust proposed its closure. 

The patients of the ward were all older people living with dementia.  The families of the patients were very satisfied with the services provided by the Trust in the facility and were concerned about the proposed closure.  The Trust was required to propose the closure as the facility was no longer fit-for purpose under existing regulatory standards. At the point when the Commissioner was asked by the families to intervene, relationships between Trust officials and the families had broken down.

The Commissioner appointed an independent facilitator to mediate a resolution in the best interests of the older people living with dementia that would best serve the older people living with dementia who were central to the dispute. The positive outcome was that the older people were provided with alternative accommodation in the statutory sector that fully met their assessed health needs.  The families felt that their concerns had been heard and constructively addressed and the Trust were satisfied that they had fully met the needs of the older people involved.