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Central Washington Hospital to close rehab center

WENATCHEE – A need for additional nursing staff in other parts of Central Washington Hospital will lead to the closure of the hospital’s transitional care center.

The 22-bed transitional care center is used to help older patients recovering from surgery or injury prepare to either return home or enter a nursing home, said Andrew Canning, a hospital spokesman.

The hospital has close to 50 open nursing and nursing assistant positions it needs to fill in other areas of the hospital. The closure will help fill 35 of those positions.

The hospital will contract with private nursing centers to replace those beds.

“We just need our skilled nurses in other departments and for us it is easier to partner with people who provide those services,” Canning said.

The hospital evaluated the rehabilitation centers in the Wenatchee Valley and determined it could contract with other private companies, he said. It does not expect any problems finding space for those patients with other nursing home companies.

“It comes down to there are people providing the service in the community and they do a great job,” Canning said. “So we are going to let them continue to do a great job and we’re going to shift our resources.”

The hospital will start to transfer patients to other nursing homes on Aug. 31 and is expected to complete the move by Nov. 1, he said. No layoffs are expected.

Lexy Lieurance, Cashmere Care Center administrator, said transitional care centers are quite valuable because they provide 24-hour, skilled nursing care that other nursing homes might not. Professionals in those centers, for example, can teach patients how to navigate their homes.

Despite the growing number of baby boomers headed toward retirement, fewer people may be needing transitional care centers, Lieurance said. Part of the reason could be due to self-care earlier in life. The other reason may be the sophistication of technology leading to quicker recovery times.

Transitional care centers will never go away entirely, though, Lieurance said. They are the kind of service people don’t usually think about until they need it.

“No one says I would love to meet a really cute firefighter today, I’ll burn my house down,” she said. “There will always be a need, but we are a necessity service. So that’s how I look at it.”


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