The management of Snug Harbor on Nelson Bay announced Tuesday evening that the facility will close its doors Dec. 21.
The decision to shut down the retirement and skilled nursing facility was made “with deep regret” according to a Wednesday press release.
“It has been a pleasure serving the Down East communities for over forty years, which made the decision to close a very difficult one,” the release stated.
Snug Harbor management said day to day costs, recent changes to healthcare reimbursement and unrepaired damage to the roof gave the owners no choice but to shut down the facility.
Due to a delayed insurance claim, the building is still covered in tarps from Hurricane Florence last year. Without a new roof, Snug Harbor is out of compliance with the state’s Division of Health & Human Service’s Life Safety Division regulations.
The Beacon reached out to Snug Harbor’s on-site administrator and one of the owners, but had not received additional comment by presstime.
More than 150 people will be directly affected by the closure.
Seventy-seven of those are full and part-time employees who will find themselves out of work just days before Christmas.
Then there are the residents themselves. Seventy-six people with varying degrees of physical and mental ability call Snug Harbor home. Their families – or the state – will have just 60 days to find new care facilities.
Many Snug Harbor residents require skilled nursing care, but only four other such facilities exist in the county.
Sherry Harrison, whose mother is in long-term memory care for dementia, said the suddenness of the announcement took her by surprise.
“It was kind of a shocker last night …. I immediately got in the car and went to look at some of the places that were on the list.”
Like many seniors, Harrison’s mother is on Medicaid, and must find a facility that has approved beds available. Knowing that dozens of patients will be looking for Medicare-approved facilities, Harrison took off work today in hopes of securing a spot.
“Medicaid beds are a pretty limited commodity around here. There are just not a lot of places.”
So far she has two leads – one in Newport and another in Havelock – but only one of those has beds available at this time.
“Croatan [Ridge Rehabilitation and Nursing Center] had several beds available, not as many as what is needed,” Harrison said.
“There are people that are going to have to go out further than just Craven County or Carteret, because there’s just not enough spaces for all those people.”
Sherry Willis, whose mother and father live at Snug Harbor, said she has begun her own search. She faces the extra challenge of keeping her parents together, and is concerned that she won’t find a nursing home that’s up to snuff.
“It’s hard to compare to Snug Harbor. It seems like other places just seem to fall short.”
Willis said she’s mostly worried about how her mother and father will take the move emotionally. Sea Level was their home even before they required care.
Harrison’s mother and Willis’s parents are fortunate.
Not all residents have family who can arrange a quick transition to a new facility, but Harrison praised Snug Harbor staff for trying to bridge the gap.
“There are so many people there that don’t really have anybody, but the staff is really working hard to try to place everybody.”
Then her voice trailed off.
“It’s just a beautiful place. The care that my mom has gotten there is wonderful. It’s just sad.”
Willis echoed Harrison’s sense of loss.
“We love Snug Harbor. It was a wonderful facility,” she said. “I worked there briefly in 2005-2006. This really is breaking our hearts.”