Officials have announced the Heritage Rehabilitation and Living Center at 457 Old Lewiston Road in Winthrop, photographed in 2022, will close May 18. Kennebec Journal file

WINTHROP — The Heritage Rehabilitation and Living Center in Winthrop will close May 18 because of workforce and inflation issues, officials said Monday.

The 44 residents of the nursing and rehabilitation center at 457 Old Lewiston Road were told last Monday they have two months to find a new place to live.

The long-care living facility, owned by North Country Associates, offers nursing and rehabilitation services for residents, with 28 beds in the nursing unit and 24 beds in the residential unit.

Mary Jane Richards, the CEO of North Country Associates, said in a statement the company’s not having enough staff members has largely contributed to the closure. Richards’ statement did not go into detail about the nursing home’s issues related to staffing and costs.

“The Long-term Care and Assisted Living Communities, including Heritage, face challenges with a diminishing workforce and increased levels of inflation,” Richards wrote in the statement. “MaineCare has fallen further behind in keeping up with the costs of providing care, including hiring enough staff to meet the regulatory needs.”

The Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program and state Department of Health and Human Services are expected to help the nursing and rehabilitation center’s employees find work and its residents a facility to which they can move, according to the statement.


Nationwide since 2020, more than 21,000 residents have been displaced by nursing homes closures, and in Maine, a coalition representing long-term care facilities has requested additional funding from the state to prevent nursing homes from closing.

Brenda Gallant, executive director of The Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, said the nonprofit agency plans to help residents find new homes.

When a facility closes in Maine, the program is notified by the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Ombudsman Program works with the long-term care facility’s staff members and the residents’ families to find the best possible placement that adheres to their needs and locations.

The Department of Health and Human Services was made aware of the closure from a notice filed by the facility, which notified residents that it plans to help them find a new place to live.

It was not clear Monday where the Heritage Rehabilitation and Living Center’s residents and employees will go, but Richards said North Country Associates has more than 20 locations across Maine, including the Russell Park Rehabilitation & Living Center in Lewiston, the Sarah Frye Home in Auburn, Klearview Manor Nursing Home in Fairfield and other facilities in or near central Maine.

“When a facility closes, it’s really difficult for residents,” Gallant said. “When they move out of their home into the long-term care facility, that becomes home. They get to know the staff and they have routines, and any destruction of that can be very stressful. Our job is to answer questions and know that we can support them through the process.”

The Heritage Rehabilitation and Living Center was listed in 2022 as a “special focus facility” by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services after two patients had wandered away in 2021. One of the patients was hit and killed by a vehicle.

Being a “special focus facility” means it has been subjected to additional inspections and could have faced penalties had it not improved its performance.

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