Imagine everything that goes into moving. Now, multiply that by 77.
"We're discharging several patients a day," says Steve Haase, who runs Bedford Gardens in New Bedford and has to find 77 residents a new place to live. "We have to meet that tight deadline. We only have seven days to discharge the residents so we can close the building."
The five nursing homes are all owned by Skyline Healthcare, a New Jersey-based company that has failed to pay employees on time on multiple occasions. Its owner, Joseph Schwartz, has faced similar criticisms in other states.
The logistics of moving dozens of elderly residents are daunting, says Haase: paperwork, personal belongings, planning transportation. On top of all that, Haase says, it's been a tough goodbye.
"There’s a lot hugs, a lot of crying, a lot of tears," he says. "There’s nothing like it. It’s a very sad experience. I hope no administrator, no staff, no family ever has to go through. Because you’re breaking up a home."
Massachusetts' Department of Public Health says there are more 5,000 available nursing home beds throughout the state.