Lakeland Specialty Hospital to close June 1

A care center that has served the community for more than a century will close its doors June 1.

Lakeland Specialty Hospital will discontinue operations due, in part, to changing trends in healthcare and the remote location of the facility.

“Our aging Berrien facility, although it has served thousands of patients for more than one hundred years, no longer represents the healing environment that Lakeland is committed to providing to those we serve,” said Loren B. Hamel, MD, President and CEO, Lakeland HealthCare. “To repair or replace the building would have required a significant investment. Berrien’s remote location is not as convenient to the families of most residents as other area options.”

The facility currently has about 70 residents at Lakeland Continuing Care and less than 15 patients in Long-Term Acute Care. Management is working closely with the residents and their families to make transition plans. Some residents will be relocated to the new Pine Ridge Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in Lincoln Township.

Hospital administrator Cali Gregory said the nursing home residents see the facility as their home.

"It will be a huge adjustment," Gregory said. "Our whole process will be focused on our residents and making sure we are finding new homes for them."

Employees were aware that the hospital's future was uncertain, but news of the closure was tough to hear.

"It is a grieving process for everyon," Gregory said. "This is a loss we're experiencing."

According to Gregory, Lakeland is working to relocate some of the displaced employees to other health facilities.

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