Ann Arbor senior home cites COVID-19 pandemic in decision to cut skilled nursing beds in half

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ANN ARBOR, MI — An Ann Arbor senior living facility is pointing to the COVID-19 pandemic in its decision to reduce the number of beds in its nursing and assisted living facility.

Glacier Hills, a member of the St. Joseph Mercy Senior Communities network, will reduce the number of skilled nursing and assisting living beds by more than 50% and vacate The Pavillion, the senior home’s long-term care building, Glacier Hills President Craig Courts said in an email.

Glacier Hills recently approved an update to its plan to rebalance living options, taking into consideration its new development and the impact of the pandemic, according to a recent letter sent to residents and their families.

Over the next month, a team of social workers will help coordinate alternative living arraignments for residents affected by the consolidation, officials said.

Glacier Hills staff began reaching out to residents and their families on Nov. 17 to inform them of the changes, Courts said.

Of the facility’s 105 licensed skilled nursing beds, 44 will go to assisted living, another 44 will remain skilled nursing, while the other 17 beds will be decertified, meaning the residents currently living in them will have until Dec. 31 to find new residence, Courts said.

Each facility’s services will be prioritized for the use of existing Glacier Hills residents who develop the need for more intensive health services, officials said, adding that skilled nursing will be consolidated and residents living in The Pavilion will be relocated elsewhere within the facility.

“Glacier Hills has a surplus of skilled nursing care and assisted living beds and the facility’s capacity far exceeds the needs of its resident population,” Courts said.

Many factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have caused a fundamental change in the demand for senior health care services, according to the letter to residents and families.

Glacier Hills has battled COVID-19 cases since in April, and officials said the pandemic has ushered a decreased demand in skilled nursing care, with more people now deciding in favor of at home care.

Glacier Hills offers several different living styles on its campus, ranging from independent living, assisted living and some independent, traditional long-term care and short-term care for seniors recovering from injury or illness.

“Looking forward we intend to renovate The Pavilion to meet the needs of current and future residents,” Courts said. “This includes construction of new, contemporary independent living apartments, with additional amenities including a well/fitness center, a dining venue, comfortable lounges, a game room, and other features.

When all phases of the project are complete, residents living at Glacier Hills will notice new high-end accommodations with a variety of dining, entertainment, and fitness amenities from which to choose, officials said.

Glacier Hills is committed to working with families of residents who are affected by the changes to ensure their loved one continues to receive high-quality care, officials said.

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