Humboldt County residents protest Brius nursing home closures

The growing anger over Brius’ attempt to shutter three nursing homes in Humboldt County reached a new high point yesterday as family members, local elected officials, and community members held a two-hour protest outside a Brius facility in Eureka to oppose the eviction of approximately 190 medically fragile residents, mostly to other counties.

The protest – which received coverage in print, radio, and television media outlets – took place outside Pacific Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, the first of three nursing homes that Brius is attempting to close.

According to the Eureka Times-Standard, “protesters waved signs at the passing commuters and chanted lines such as ‘People over profits,’ ‘Senior lives matter,’ ‘This closure will kill,’ and ‘Shame on Shlomo.’” Brius, the Los Angeles-based corporation that operates the largest nursing home chain in California and holds a virtual monopoly over Humboldt’s 466 nursing home beds, is owned by multi-billionaire Shlomo Rechnitz.

If Brius follows through on its closure plans, dozens of elderly and medically fragile residents will be evicted and displaced to other nursing homes across Northern California and Oregon. Jeff Graham, whose 77-year-old mother lives at Pacific Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, is fearful of what the home’s closure will mean for him and his mother. “If she moves away, I will not be able to visit her any more. She’s scared of what the future is going to bring. I just don’t see how they can disrupt life like this…She deserves better than this,” Graham told the Times-Standard.

Kellie Shaner, who recently moved her mother from a nursing home in Crescent City to the Eureka Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, told the Times-Standard that her mother is “devastated” and “terrified,” adding that “to increase the miles between us and her for potentially a second time and not knowing where she’s going is terrifying for all of us.”

Media outlets reporting on this action include: