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Heddington Oaks Nursing Home Closing By End of 2020

Tim Shelley / Peoria Public Radio
Peoria County Board member Sharon Williams speaks to media about the Heddington Oaks closure as board chairman Andrew Rand looks on, 4/17/20.

After 172 years, Peoria County is exiting the nursing home business.
The Peoria County Board is set to meet next week to take the first steps to shut down Heddington Oaks by the end of the year. Board chairman Andrew Rand said the decision wasn't reached lightly.

"We've repeatedly here, year after year, dipped into the Heddington Oaks reserve fund to continue providing care to these residents. And we're at the end of that fund," Rand said. "So, the single-site facility is not sustainable."

Rand said the county has spent between $1.5 to 2.5 million annually out of the reserve fund on the nursing home for the last several years. He also said the county struggled to retain staff in a competitive market and find enough residents to fill the 214-bed facility, even after the county worked with OSF POINTCore to improve operations.

"There are better options for rehab, better options for long-term care that are better financial mechanisms for things that didn't exist 170 years ago, such as something we call insurance. And we have a lot of skilled social service agencies also that are filling this gap that didn't exist before," he said.

Rand said the discussions to wind down operations at Heddington Oaks began well before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

The county will work with families to find new accommodations for the 140 current residents.

Editor's note: The county used money out of the Heddington Oaks reserve fund, not the general fund, to fund the nursing home.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.