To The Daily Sun,

The Belknap County Nursing Home is a treasure that provides essential services and contributes so much to our community. Sadly, the nursing home is currently facing serious challenges and fighting for its very survival. I could write volumes in praise of the facility itself, but the employees are the real treasure. For the past five years my own mother has thrived under their care. Residents are treated with love, respect and kindness, and family and friends are welcomed with genuine warmth and compassion. We can never adequately thank them for what they do every single day or for keeping our loved ones safe for the past very difficult 20 months. But we can at least stand with them now in their fight for survival.

The wide-spread shortage of health care workers and the looming deadline for staff vaccination may in fact necessitate the closing of the East Wing and the transfer of many residents. This is heartbreaking and we should resolve that this be a temporary solution. Our county leaders should take whatever steps are necessary to work toward a fully staffed and fully functioning home. This includes immediate action to increase compensation for our nursing home employees.

Wages at BCNH have been embarrassingly low for some time, and are contributing to this critical staffing shortage. We must be competitive to retain our cherished employees during this time of upheaval. Money must be found to offer bonuses and incentives in the short term and the next budget must ensure adequate compensation for all. That is a cause to which I will gladly contribute with my tax dollars.

The long waiting list for beds at the nursing home attests to the need for these services in our community. I see no reason to think that need will diminish anytime soon. Let’s treat our workers with the love and kindness which they treat us with, while preserving this essential community resource.

Barbara Sullivan


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