Hospital Cuts Nursing Unit
The diagnosis: Not enough space, and not enough nurses. Boone Hospital is closing its skilled nursing unit in September, said Boone Hospital Center spokesperson Kyle Sheafer.
"We have an immediate need for more acute-care beds, and we're also having a hard time recruiting and retaining qualified staff to work on the skilled nursing facility," Sheafer said.
The hospital is one of the last in the region to offer long-term rehabilitative care. The unit houses 19 beds, with 14 of those currently filled.
There are 23 employees working in the department.
"We have plans underway right now to put those employees in different places in the hospital and place them in appropriate positions in the hospital as much as possible," Sheafer said.
The hospital is counting on nursing homes to bridge the gap in care. However, even there, space is at a premium. Right now, only five beds are available at The Bluffs nursing home in Columbia. Cost is another issue at places like the Bluffs: Rooms run $150 a day, and insurance coverage is more complicated here than at a typical hospital, like Boone.
Sheafer said there is no threat to the residents at Boone Hospital Nursing Home right now.
"They will not see any change in their care based on the fact that we will be closing the facility in September," she said.
Boone Hospital Center plans to renovate the unit to make room for more general hospital beds.