The families of vulnerable residents in an assisted living home have warned proposals to scrap 24/7 supervision may have deadly consequences.

Baytree House, in Dells Close, Chingford, which is home to over 50s with dementia and other illnesses, has entered consultations with residents and their relatives over future care provision.

The home, managed by Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) on behalf of Waltham Forest Council, currently has 24/7 on-site staff, known as wardens.

Wardens provide support and company for residents and ensure they are kept safe within the premises.

However, with NHG’s contract with the council – valued at £560,00 a year – due to expire on March 31, 2020, Waltham Forest has begun consultations on proposals to scrap the 24/7 on-site staffing.

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Baytree House, Dells Close, Chingford. Photo: Lewis Berrill

The council says the proposals will “align” the home with its stock of sheltered housing which do not provide 24/7 care.

However, the relatives of vulnerable residents living in the home are terrified of the possible consequences.

Michelle Miles’ 87-year-old grandmother, Mavis North, has dementia and lives at the home.

“My nan has an alarm on her door, if she leaves the warden is notified and can come and take her back to safety”, she said.

“She is usually usually trying to get back to where she lived as a child. With the wardens gone, she will be in real danger.”

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Mavis North, 89, has dementia and often attempts to leave the building to return to her childhood home. Photo: Lewis Berrill

Ms Miles added: “It feels like they have left this consultation until the last minute, people don’t have enough time to make new arrangements.”

Residents living in the home currently receive care packages consisting of daily visits by care professionals.

But families say they are worried how long residents who have falls in the night will have to wait for the care professionals to arrive – currently wardens check in through the night to make sure residents are well and safe.

Kym Hudson, whose 92-year-old dementia suffering father Derrick lives in the home, said: “The whole thing just making vulnerable people even more vulnerable.

“If someone escapes at night they could die from the cold. Does Waltham Forest want that on their conscience just to save a few bob?”

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Pauline Brown, Mavis North, Michelle Miles, and Daniel North are worried of the possible consequences. Photo: Lewis Berrill

Consultation documents state new technology and alarms could be implemented to supplement care.

But Ms Hudson is not convinced this would suffice. “The idea technology can provide the same level of care and safety is making the assumption that these people have the physical and mental capacity to use the technology”, she said.

Home warden Kelly Spencer added: “Most of the residents struggle with hearing and can’t use the technology we already have” – referring to the Careline alarm pendants worn by residents.

The pendants, when activated, connect the wearer to an off-site care team who can asses the situation and alert the necessary contacts or emergency services.

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Residents and relatives say Baytree House is like 'one big family'. Photo: Lewis Berrill

A council spokesperson said: “Waltham Forest Council is currently in the very early stages of consulting on proposals that will align the ways all sheltered housing schemes operate so that there is a consistent offer for residents across the borough. No decision has yet been taken.

“This consultation is an opportunity for these residents and their families to have their say and raise any issues or concerns they may have. We are working closely with landlords, service providers, and affected individuals and their families to make sure they are kept informed throughout the process. Each resident will get an individual review from their social worker to ensure they are fully aware of the proposals and have the support they need to take part in the consultation.”

A Notting Hill Genesis spokesperson added: “We are aware of the consultation process being undertaken by Waltham Forest and will work closely with residents and their families to ensure anyone who wishes to respond is given any help they require to do so.

“We understand that this may be a difficult time for both residents and staff at Baytree House and we will do all we can to support them during this consultation process and beyond.”