LACONIA — Belknap County Commissioners have decided that the Belknap County Nursing Home needs to have a receptionist on duty seven days a week, as well as in the evenings until the front door is locked.
Currently, visitors to the nursing home can walk into the facility any time that the door is unlocked and make their way through the facility without checking in at the front desk of the business office, a situation which commissioners decided should not be allowed to continue, in part for security reasons.
"The cost is so low to have someone there. There's not really a great risk, but if something does happen it can be catastrophic," said Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton). Commissioners agreed that one of the duties of the receptionist would be too keep an eye on who is in the facility.
The nursing home has not had a receptionist for seven years, and last week the County Convention's Nursing Home Subcommittee heard from interim nursing home Administrator Bob Hemenway that the position is badly needed. Hemenway said that currently the people working in the business office face constant daily interruptions in their work to deal with visitors, which makes them less efficient at their jobs.
County Commissioners had already agreed to hiring a full-time receptionist from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday but Commissioner David DeVoy (R-Sanbornton) said that he thought it might be important to have a receptionist on Sunday, which he thought might be the day that family members would most likely visit.
Belknap County Department of Corrections Superintendent Keith Gray noted that the nursing home is unique in that it is the only facility at the county complex where "people can walk in without pushing a button."
Commissioners agreed that it was a security issue as well as an office efficiency issue and decided to hire part-time workers to cover the 4 to 9 p.m. period seven days a week as well as on weekends. Currently there is someone at the front desk during the day on Saturdays but no one on Sunday, which would require another eight-hour part-time worker.
The commissioners decided to add $22,500 to the nursing home budget for the part-time receptionists and also have approved a $46,000 full-time receptionist position for the nursing home.
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