Emily P. Bissell Hospital to remain closed permanently

Emily P. Bissell Hospital
Emily P. Bissell Hospital on Newport Gap Pike (Photo: Google maps)

BRANDYWINE SPRINGS, DELAWARE (9/23/2015) Emily P. Bissell Hospital will remain closed permanently, state officials announced Tuesday.

The 48 residents of the facility on Newport Gap Pike had been moved to other nursing homes in February after lengthy problems with the heating system in the building.

Citing a declining occupancy at all long-term care facilities run by the state, the decision to close was made by Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf. She also said the majority of Bissell residents preferred to remain where they are living now.

The residents had been moved to Gov. Bacon Health Center near Delaware City, Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill in Smyrna, private nursing homes or placed in the community.

“In Delaware’s history, Emily P. Bissell Hospital has had an important role in caring for our state’s most vulnerable residents,” Landgraf said. “I want to thank all of those DHSS employees who have cared for the residents of Emily Bissell over the years. But with more Delaware seniors wanting to live in their own homes as they age, now is the time to look at alternative uses for the campus’ buildings.”

The 143 staff members who worked at Bissell also have transitioned to other locations within the department, primarily Gov. Bacon Health Center, Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill and Delaware Psychiatric Center near New Castle. Landgraf said about half of the staff with a preference indicated they want to remain at their new jobs. She said the closing of Bissell will not result in any layoffs.

The 50-acre Bissell campus includes the hospital, administrative offices that supported the hospital and Christiana Care’s Evergreen Center, which offers adult day care services. The department will begin evaluating alternative uses for the facility over the next several months. Meanwhile, the facility’s administrative space will provide temporary offices for state employees. No changes to Christiana Care’s Evergreen Center are planned.

“We know how important this facility and the open space surrounding it are to the community,” Landgraf said. “We look forward to talking to stakeholders about how we can best use the aging facility in a manner consistent with the character of the area.”

The hospital,  founded in the early 1900s, originally provided care to people diagnosed with tuberculosis. The nursing facility most recently provided skilled and intermediate care to residents.

Bissell Hospital residents to move to other nursing homes