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Skeletal staff remains to care for patients in soon to be shuttered nursing home

A small but dedicated and unpaid staff remains at Forest Hill Rehab nursing home to care for hard to place patients who desperately need a new home.

Forest Hill owners announced yesterday the home in East Moline was shutting its doors as early as Friday, and workers were not going to be paid at least until the end of the month, or longer.

“Last night, there were five patients left,” said Allison O’Malley, a veteran LPN who worked the overnight shift. “Three staff members until  4 in the morning, and one of the staff left because she had gotten called in on second shift so she had been there since 6:30 the night before,” O’Malley said.

The patients include one with Alzheimer’s and mental issues.

O’Malley says close to 60 residents over the past two weeks were rounded up and shuttled to facilities in East Moline and Galesburg. First, patients in the mentally ill unit and then those with Alzheimer’s.

“They were all told they would be back, that we were remodeling. We were going to get a new roof, new tile,” O’Malley said, talking about the emotional trauma the abrupt move caused.

“We don’t even move Alzheimer’s patients from their room to another. You don’t deviate from their routine because any deviation can be traumatic,” she said.

O’Malley says one man tried to barricade himself in his room before having to leave the facility.

Melaney Arnold, with the Illinois Department of Health which oversees nursing homes in the state,  says a man named Michael Lerner owns the home. She says by law, there has to be a 90 day notice of closure to allow patients time to move.

“Some of the people didn’t know they were moving until staff came in with boxes. These people have to be in terror, literally in terror,” O’Malley said.

6 comments

  • a employee

    a open letter to the owner of forest hill ,we have been told that we will receive our last pay checks next week when the public aid payment is deposited , many employees here are awaiting that check , to buy groceries pay bills buy diapers for there babies and thanksgiving dinner .
    this payment from public aid is to pay for the care of the residents what these employees here at forest hill are still doing regaurdless.. you lerner have no rights to this payment ! it is more than sufficient to pay payroll , and everyone from the employee union ,IDPH ,and WQAD and other news outlets will be watching you if you steal this money from direct deposit ! so a word of warning pay your employees and stop worrying about linning your pockets with other peoples money!

  • a employee

    long after the camera crews and reporters had moved on to the next big story , after the cry of foul had faded a dedicated few has worked long hours still caring for the last of the residents , making phone calls doing endless hours of paperwork , taking angry phone calls ,packing personal belongings among many other untold tasks . all the while knowing that all though they have been told they will be paid next week there is no guarantee . these special people will never be the ones you see on the evening news , they are not dedicated employees they are dedicated people ! they are nurses and caregivers doing there jobs to the very end . cleaning up a mess that was not of there making.
    mike lerner and his yam management buddies could learn a lot about caring for the elderly from this handful of people !

  • Rose Jackson

    I to am an unemployed caregiver as of tonight, one of the ones that stayed on because I care and wanted to help with this transition of our unfairly treated residents. I am so full of anger towards you Mr. Micheal Learner, I really wonder how do you sleep at night and do it ever cross your mind that you’ve wounded, terrified and scared a lot of our resident’s for the rest of some of these people lives Micheal Learner you may be the death of some. Karma is around the corner.

  • joyce ford

    my daughter was a patient there. she just got out of the hospital when they gave me 2 day notice. she was scared and crying when she arrived in Galesburg.i go down there 2 times a week.its sad seeing all these people so far away from there families. I do hope something is done. does anyone no if theres a class action law suite.

  • sherry ralston

    I hope chris minor gets ahold us we would do interview its my niece my sisters daughter who was one of them we got a lot to say and tell the bews!!!

  • Anonymous

    WOW!! I can not believe some of the posts on here. Forest Hill was ran by a very honest and caring Adminstrator and her very talented Department Heads. Stop with the employee bashing and down talking of Forest Hill it may have had some incidents but what nursing home dosent.. None of this happened because of them this all happened because of greedy owners!! They were lied to as well ALL of them were told to move people beacuse of renovations then after they did all of the hard work of placing the residents they were told it was closing, they were all used!! Plus no residents were just moved without family or gurdians (if they had one) approved and they gave them options of Galesburg Terrace or Riverwood or they could find a different nursing home if they chose to. Why don’t everyone focus on the REAL story here Michael Lerener!! He does still own Galesburg Terrace he just let Yam Mangement take over the mangement of the building to get out of debts owed to vendors that are in his name and to start again with a different company name. Him and his pals Michael Rosen, Yosef Meystel, and David Berkowitz(who all own Yam Mangement and Riverwood nursing home in East Moline and the paper owners of Galesburg Terrace)are running a scam here to fill their other nursing homes. Why do you think Riverwood employees came and got beds and all med supplies from Forest Hill and the food delivery that Forest Hill recevied the day before the shutdown??? Run up bills under one company name close building down or switch owners and start the same routine all over again. Then I bet you when Forest Hill goes up for sell by the bank Yam Mangement will buy the building and start it back up magically with a different name!! Please do yourself the favor of researching these four men you will be horrified!!

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