Meeting on closure of Calais nursing home set

Posted Feb. 03, 2012, at 12:14 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 03, 2012, at 5:42 p.m.

CALAIS, Maine — It will be Thursday, Feb. 16, before residents, workers and their families learn any more about the fate of the Atlantic Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

Portland-based First Atlantic Healthcare, which owns the 50-bed nursing home, has informed the Maine Department of Health and Human Services that it intends to close the facility. What’s not clear is when that might happen.

While the company said last week that mothballing the 39-year-old nursing home is not “imminent,” the facility has stopped accepting applications from potential new residents and some residents have moved out or are looking for alternative living arrangements.

If the facility is closed, 96 workers will be out of a job, including 50 nursing care staffers who are members of Teamsters Local 340. Traci Place, a Teamsters business agent who works with the Atlantic Rehab bargaining unit, said Friday she and two shop stewards came away Thursday from a brief meeting in Bangor with First Atlantic Chief Operating Officer Craig Coffin with no new insights into the company’s plans.

“We’re hoping to get some new information on the 16th,” Place said Friday. “Certainly, everybody is very, very concerned for the residents and their families and for the employees and their families. Our heart just breaks for the uncertainty residents and their families are experiencing now.”

Place said that in working with the licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants that the Teamsters represent, she has learned that meeting the needs of nursing home residents “requires a team of very special people.”

“Time and time again, their first concern is for the residents and their well-being,” Place said. “They put their concerns first, above their own.”

Between now and the meeting on Feb. 16, Place said, she’ll be working with Washington County’s political delegation to see what if anything it can do to keep the facility up and running.

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