Nursing Homes Continue To Close As People Choose Community
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
February 28, 2006
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA--After losing more than $2 million over the past five years, the operators of St. Paul's Church home announced last week that it would close by April 22.
When it does, it will be the 46th Minnesota nursing home to close since 2000.
According to a story in Monday's Star-Tribune, state officials say that -- as more people have been choosing community-based options over nursing homes -- the number of those in nursing facilities has dropped by 6,000.
Still, the rate of closures is likely to continue because there may be more nursing home beds in the state than are needed or wanted.
Minnesota used to house a higher percentage of its seniors in nursing facilities than nearly any other state. But a combination of financial problems and state incentives to close or downsize such institutions has brought Minnesota's level more in line with that of other states.
Rick Carter, president of the trade association Care Providers of Minnesota, told the Star-Tribune: "We created a system of care back in the '60s and '70s that everybody thought was great -- a good, efficient model of medical care. But it's not a system we'd build today."
"We've been struggling to create a system of care in the community -- assisted living, home care, a new style of nursing home that's smaller and much more homelike," Carter continued. "But as a state, we haven't figured out what long-term care should look like, or how to get there."
"Nursing homes are closing amid a contracting industry" (Star-Tribune)