The staff of an embattled nursing home speaks out for the first time after an official says it’s time for Rock Island County to sell.
Rock island county administrator Jim Snider told the committee of the whole last week Hope Creek is in too big of a hole to be saved so he recommends that the county divests.
That recommendation has some Hope Creek residents fearing the worst.
“I’ve had residents come up to me crying asking where am I going to live?” said Rhonda Westmorland, a Hope Creek social worker.
Last week county board chairman Richard Brunk told Local 4 News selling does not mean closing, but the staff at Hope Creek fear a new owner wouldn’t look after their most vulnerable residents.
“The ones on Medicaid [are asking] where are we going to go and who’s going to take care of us?” Westmorland said. “I mean that’s a major concern for them. Not a lot of facilities will accept them.”
Of the 10 nursing homes in Rock Island County, a government website says nine, including Hope Creek, accept Medicaid.
Hope Creek, however, has the most beds available.
Another concern is staff cuts, which was a consulting firm’s answer to decrease spending by $2 million.
Westmorland said they are already facing cuts. The home has four social workers and Westmorland is one of two that are losing their jobs. Westmorland will go back to working as a receptionist at Hope Creek.
Quality of care was one of the bright spots in the firm’s report. That’s why the staff says to look for money somewhere else.
Westmorland has one message for the county board.
“Quit using hope creek as a political football and let us take care of our residents,” she said. “I’m telling our residents and our staff members hang tight. We’ve been through this before. Hopefully we’ll come through it again.”
The county board meets tomorrow night at 5:30 to take their first look at selling options.