A Deer Isle nursing home will close this fall, ending a 40-year history on the island.
The board of directors for the Island Nursing Home said Monday that it’s become “increasingly difficult” for the facility to find enough workers to care for its residents over the past 10 years, a difficulty they attributed to the facility’s remote location, Maine’s long winters and the area’s lack of affordable housing.
That meant the facility came to rely on short-term contract workers to plug the gaps.
But those staffing difficulties only became harder since last spring as the coronavirus pandemic further sapped the availability of health care workers in Maine and the nation.
“Facilities like ours can no longer find qualified staff. … it is no longer a matter of location or funding … there are simply not enough qualified staff available in a rapidly declining healthcare workforce,” the board of directors wrote in a letter.
The facility will close Oct. 26. It is home to 60 people, according to the Ellsworth American.
Last December, 14 residents died at Island Nursing Home in a COVID-19 outbreak that sickened 62 residents and 85 staff, making it one of the state’s largest outbreaks at the time.