Henry County Medical Center officials have eliminated two jobs at their hospital-run nursing home, as part of a facility restructuring. The nursing home is in the process of closing down one wing because of a lack of patients. CEO Tom Gee says the number of patients at the nursing home has declined steadily in the past two years, with around 30 empty beds.
“The advent of a lot of assisted living homes have taken some of the healthier populations out of the nursing homes, and a lot of home and community-based services are being developed in Tennessee and that’s resulted in less people going to long-term care facilities," he said.
Gee says the nursing home won’t lay off anyone else, but it’s likely retirees won’t be replaced.
He expects some resurgence in nursing care at the end of the decade as the Tennessee baby boomer population begins reaching age 65. Gee says regional census numbers estimate only a 1 to 2 percent growth in the over 65 population in the next five years.
“But we see after 2015 to 2020 a big jump in the over 65 population of about 15 to 16 percent, so we’re seeing the baby boomer group come in. It’s gonna, I think in the later part of this decade a much bigger demand for institutional services," said Gee.
To meet that expected need, he hopes HCMC can start construction on a new, more residential-style nursing facility in the next five years.