Nursing Homes Struggling to Make Ends Meet in Nebraska

Dec. 23, 2021, 11 a.m. ·

A nursing facility's hallway leading to an exit with a door at the end.
(Archive photo by Pamela Thompson, Nebraska Public Media News)

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From Omaha to Valentine, seven assisted living facilities in Nebraska are closing all or part of their senior healthcare programs.

Good Samaritan Society will close its nursing homes in Ravenna, Arapahoe, and Valentine, Nebraska at the end of the year.

Jalene Carpenter is CEO of the Nebraska Healthcare Association and said closures occur, in part, due to a lack of funding.

“It truly is a staffing issue, and the ability to attract and retain staff and to pay them a competitive wage,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter said Medicaid allocations from the state could’ve affected nurse’s wages. Governor Ricketts reinstated an extra $20 per day payment to assisted living facilities starting early next year.

But it’s too late for Arapohoe’s assisted living facility, where Alan Thomas stays. His wife, Heidi is a teacher and works part-time as a nurse's aide at Good Samaritan Society in Arapahoe. Thomas said she had to move her husband into a nursing home because of his Parkinson's disease and sleeping troubles.

“If he can’t get up in the morning, I can't get him up. He just has to be allowed to sleep,” Thomas said. “And, if he’s up all night, there's nothing I can do about that. He's just up all night and I still work full time.”

Thomas said they have no choice but to bring him home in January. He’ll be cared for by three nurses and his wife. The nursing home donated Alan’s hospital bed and other necessary items to allow him to be cared for at home.

Other towns affected by nursing home closure throughout 2021 include Stuart, Omaha, Tecumseh, and Stanton.