A long-revered Denver nursing home will be closing its doors after more than a century, but plans to keep the building in “the family” by transferring ownership to the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver.

Officials with Little Sisters of the Poor, who have operated the facility for 105 years, would give no specific internal reasons they are closing the 42-bed Mullen Home.

“As part of a strategic plan aimed at strengthening our ministry and the quality of our religious and community life, we Little Sisters have recognized the need to withdraw from a certain number of Homes in the United States, while at the same time dedicating our resources to much needed upgrades and reconstruction projects in others,” Mother Julie Horseman said in a previous statement.

The nearest Little Sisters-run nursing homes after the Denver nursing home closes will be in Gallup, NM, and Kansas City, MO, the Catholic News Agency reported.

“The loss of such a well-respected, long standing and quality nursing home provider is a loss for the Denver community and the nursing home sector overall,” Deborah Lively, director of public policy and public affairs for LeadingAge Colorado, told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News last week.

“Operating a quality nursing home has always been difficult, but with the demands of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a full-blown workforce crisis and inadequate reimbursement rates that fail to cover increasing costs, we may continue to see closures across the state,” Lively added. “Nursing home providers are really struggling right now to continue to meet the expectations of regulators and provide quality services to residents while being paid Medicaid rates that don’t fully cover the costs of providing care in 2022.” 

But Lynae Jones, administrator of the Mullen Home, told McKnight’s reimbursement was not an issue in the decision and, “Medicaid did not contribute to the decision of the Little Sisters to withdraw.” Moreover, she said financial concerns were not central to the decision to withdraw.

She said provisions are already underway to transition residents to new homes in the coming weeks and months while “following the closure and transfer process mandated by the State of Colorado.”

When the last of the residents have been transferred, the land and buildings will be deeded to the Archdiocese of Denver as stipulated in the original deed transferring the property to the Little Sisters of the Poor by the Mullens family.

The first group of Little Sisters set foot on American soil in Brooklyn, NY, on Sept. 13, 1868. The Mullen Home for the Aged opened in 1917. A year later, the Sisters received their first residents.

Today the home includes private rooms for assisted living, apartments for the elderly, a library and a chapel. In 1975, new wings were added to provide different levels of care, and in 1980, part of the original building was renovated to create apartments, the Catholic News Agency said.