A facility specifically for those with dementia will close Friday, while an assisted living facility associated with it is set to close next month, leaving 26 residents and their families with one less option and 48 workers out of a job.
The board of Country Winds Manor, which owns the two facilities in the Cresco area, announced Oct. 31 they would close, saying they didn’t have the money to continue running, according to the Cresco Times Plain Dealer.
A nonprofit database run by Pro Publica shows the nonprofit had lost more money than it brought in starting in 2015, which was also the year Country Winds opened its dementia care facility, the 24-bed Patty Elwood Center. That facility will close Friday, Jan. 6.
But it may have been a decision by a previous management company that sealed the deal, when it instructed the other facility, the Donald Lundak Assisted Living Center, to abruptly discharge all residents in October of 2020 due to the pandemic.
That decision led to Donald Lundak losing its certification the following year, and it never recovered: Just two residents need to move out of that 12-apartment facility by the time it closes Feb. 5.
Regional Health Services of Howard County (RHS) stepped in to manage in November 2021, and the community rallied around Country Winds, with Howard County allocating $200,000 in American Rescue Plan dollars to the facility that month, according to Decorah Newspapers. But other grants didn’t come.
“We tried fundraisers, but those raise $5,000, and we need a lot more than that,” administrator Sandy Chilson told the Times Plain Dealer.
RHS CEO Robin Schluter told the paper the company advised the 48 employees to apply for jobs within RHS, which operates medical clinics, home health and hospice services in the county.
Iowa’s Department of Inspections and Appeals shows 391 free-standing nursing facilities in the state, a loss of 14 over the previous year. Rural nursing homes are especially at risk: Just 40 miles away, the Good Samaritan Society in Postville closed in November.
by Amie Rivers
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