Alan Perry, regional organiser for the GMB union, was speaking after news emerged this week that The Model Care Home in Ballymoney, north Antrim, is due to shut.
That followed what the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) said were “serious concerns” about an “absence of assurances around its financial arrangements”.
As such, it had the home’s registration revoked – meaning the residents now must be moved elsewhere.
The company Model Group NI Limited took control of the home about a year-and-a-half ago, and the BBC quoted it as saying that its problems were merely “administrative issues” and that the RQIA’s actions had been “wholly unjustified”.
The home employs about 60 staff, of whom about half belong to the GMB union.
Mr Perry told the News Letter that some of the residents of The Model had moved in there after The Court, another care home in Ballymoney, had been ordered to close last autumn.
Some of The Court’s staff too managed to find work at The Model, only to find that it too is now shutting down.
“There’s only one other home, technically, within the Ballymoney area,” he said.
“Anywhere else where there’s vacancies, the residents are going to have to travel.
They’re going to have to move outside the Ballymoney area. That creates it’s own difficulties in the impact it has on them.
My understanding of it is they [the other Ballymoney home] may be able to accommodate a couple, but not all 28 residents.
“There’s no doubt we’ll find beds. The question will be – where? That’s the issue.
“Because when The Court closed seven months ago, some of the residents had to move as far away as Ballymena [about a 17-mile drive away] – and that brings additional costs to families who have to go and visit their loved ones.”
The RQIA is currently involved in taking enforcement action against seven different bodies, of which The Model is just one.
These include other homes and companies as well as Lakeview Hospital in Londonderry.