Calais nursing home closes earlier than expected

Philip and Marice Chaffee at the Atlantic Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Calais.
Tom Walsh | BDN
Philip and Marice Chaffee at the Atlantic Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Calais.
Posted June 25, 2012, at 2:12 p.m.
Last modified June 25, 2012, at 5:58 p.m.

CALAIS, Maine — The Atlantic Rehabilitation and Nursing Center has been closed earlier than expected, leaving 92 health care workers jobless and dozens of former nursing home residents now living elsewhere.

First Atlantic Healthcare, the Portland-based company that owns the 52-bed facility, planned to close the facility July 6, but all residents were able to find new placements sooner than expected. The empty facility was shuttered on Thursday, June 21.

Atlantic Rehab was the only licensed nursing home in Calais. Residents and their families didn’t learn until February that closure was likely, even though state approval had been granted in October 2011. Ever since, residents and caretakers have been scrambling to find space in other Washington County facilities, virtually all of which now have waiting lists.

First Atlantic has twice received permission from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to close the facility as part of the company’s plans to build a new nursing home in the Hancock County community of Ellsworth. Calais city officials appealed the original decision, but to no avail.

Traci Place, a business agent with Teamsters Local 340, which represents about half of the workers now jobless, termed the closure “the end of the end,” after months of failed efforts to find a way to maintain operations.

“It’s pretty disheartening, and it was a sad day,” she said. “There are lots of heavy hearts.”

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