Closed in 2021, the Island Nursing Home in Deer Isle hopes to reopen as a residential care facility. Credit: Ethan Genter / BDN

Nearly two years after the Island Nursing Home in Deer Isle closed its doors, the board of directors has voted to change the name to better align with what the facility will be if reopened.

It will be called Homeport at Island Nursing Home.

“Homeport is a name that has historically been associated with Island Nursing Home’s residential care wing, and the board feels that it’s an accurate representation of our facility’s next steps,” said board president Leon Weed in a statement.

Island Nursing Home closed in fall 2021 due to staffing shortages. In February, the board was granted a conditional license to operate a residential care facility that is valid through Jan. 11, 2024. But the facility has to meet certain benchmarks to keep the license including hiring a licensed administrator, being inspected by the fire marshal’s office and passing a safety inspection prior to admitting residents, and having a staff to patient ratio deemed adequate for the needs of the residents, among others.

Once the conditions are met, the license would be converted to a full two year license.

If reopened, Homeport at Island Nursing Home will be a 32-bed residential care facility. It previously was a skilled care facility.

Spokesperson Dan Cashman said that as a residential care facility, the staffing needs will be different, requiring fewer staff members and less specialized skills. Openings could be filled locally instead of having to recruit from elsewhere to fill the need, Cashman said.

Meanwhile, the board has set Sept. 1 as the target date for deciding if it’s feasible to reopen the facility. That, according to a press release, will come down to money. A goal of raising $1.5 million has been set, and $475,000 has been raised so far from individual donors but won’t be spent until it’s clear the nursing home is reopening. That would help offset a potential annual deficit of more than $500,000.

“Right now the reason there would be an annual deficit is because of the MaineCare reimbursement rates. They don’t match what it would cost to care for residents,” Cashman said.

However, the board is also hopeful the Maine Legislature will soon increase the reimbursement for nursing and residential care facilities, which would lower or eliminate the need for additional fundraising, Cashman said.

“Everything they are doing is moving forward with the anticipation that they will have the opportunity to reopen,” Cashman said.

Sarah Walker Caron

Sarah Walker Caron is the senior editor, features, for the Bangor Daily News and the editor of Bangor Metro magazine. She’s the author of “Classic Diners of Maine,” and five cookbooks including “Easy...