‘Why didn’t they tell my family?’ Family impacted a third time due to nursing home closures

EMILY SCHABACKER

With only two boxes left to unpack, Mary Jensen was hesitant to dive into the rest of her belongings. Having just moved into her third nursing home in four months, she worried that this facility could close unexpectedly, forcing her and her roommate, Sharon Grudzinski, to move — again.

Two of the three moves were the result of closures and one move came when their placement at Eagle Cliff Manor wasn’t a good fit.

Spurred on by historical discrepancies in Medicaid reimbursement and an unprecedented reliance on expensive traveling staff, 10 rural Montana facilities have been forced to close in 2022, accounting for about 15% of the state’s nursing homes.

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Though rural facilities tend to have far more bed space than long-term residents, the fact that those facilities exist means locals can stay in their hometown or near to their family and loved ones. Every time a facility closes, dozens of elderly and disabled residents scramble to find other places to live, often further away from family.

Parkview residents Mary Jensen and Sharon

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