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Residents forced to transport loved ones after La Harpe nursing home closes

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LA HARPE, Ill. (WGEM) -- Family members are speaking out after a nursing home in La Harpe, Illinois, announced Friday it is was closing in just a matter of days.

The unexpected news came as a shock to many families, who have loved ones in the home and are now trying to figure out other plans, right before the holidays.

It was not the news LaHarpe residents wanted to hear.

"I got a call yesterday at 3 o'clock in the afternoon that said they were going to be closing the nursing home on Tuesday," La Harpe resident Candy Lee said.

"They told the staff their last day is Tuesday and the residents all have to be out by Tuesday," La Harpe resident Brianne Burr said.

It was an unexpected turn of events. The La Harpe Davier Health Care Center will close its doors on December 22. That's according to the parent company Peterson Healthcare.

"We're blown away by it," Burr said. "There was no time to do anything. I think they should have at least gave 30 days notice or something more than five days."

Burr's 95-year-old grandma has lived at Davier for the past two years.

"She likes it there," Burr said. "She calls the place family because she's lived here all her life. To be packed up and move is kind of heart breaking for her."

Lee is facing a similar situation with her mother.

"She has dementia, so it's hard to get it across to her what's going on I'm sure," Lee said.

They said unanswered questions makes the situation even worse.

As for why the facility is closing, a spokesperson said it's been difficult to find staff in rural care facilities and they want to address the issue before it puts residents at risk.

Family members said due to COVID-19 precautions, they still aren't able to see their loved ones, which makes the switch even harder.

"They said Wesley village will come and transport her to her place," Burr said. "We can't even see her."

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic also weighs on the minds of Lee and Burr.

"They're going to move her to somewhere else," Burr said. "You don't know how many cases there are there."

They said, as tough as this is right before holidays, they're hoping for a smooth adjustment.

"You have to hope for the best for everybody that's concerned in all this," Lee said. "It's terrible that it had to happen now at this time of year. You just have to deal with it."

Spokeswoman Tonya Hill said the company plans to work with the families of the 18 residents to move them to their choice of another Peterson Health Care Facility.

She adds that they offered the La Harpe staff opportunities at other facilities as well.

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