Island Nursing Home Board seeks new members

DEER ISLE — The Island Nursing Home (INH) Board of Directors has put out a call for potential new members, according to a press release issued Aug. 22 by INH spokesperson Dan Cashman.

The board currently has seven members, although two of them will see their terms expire at the beginning of October. The board has been working for months to determine next steps for the skilled nursing care facility, which had to close its doors late last year due to a lack of staff.

“We all want what is best for this facility,” said Island Nursing Home Board President Leon Weed. “The board has been working extremely hard to determine what options exist for the Island Nursing Home. Staffing issues were made insurmountable when mandates were placed on health-care facilities related to COVID-19. We already had staffing challenges prior to those mandates, as did other health-care facilities around the country.

“We’re doing everything possible to figure out the best next steps for Island Nursing Home, and we need driven, open-minded, willing participants to help us with this journey.”

Island Nursing Home closed in October 2021 and has explored several avenues to allow it to reopen as a nursing home. However, staffing shortages — in particular, nursing shortages —have proven to be too big of an obstacle for the skilled nursing component of a nursing home that has a significant staff requirement in order for it to operate safely.

Island Nursing Home is not alone in the struggle to find qualified staff for its facility. A recent analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) found that Maine ranks third in the country for facilities with staffing shortages. The data found that about 38 percent of Maine nursing care facilities have staffing shortages, trailing only Washington state and Minnesota. The staffing shortages continue to affect nursing homes, as about 300 have closed in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, and about 400 more are expected to close by the end of this year. Nationally, the situation is even bleaker. A survey released last month by the American Health Care Association found that 98 percent of nursing home operators are having trouble hiring, and 73 percent said staffing issues could force them to close.

Anyone interested in joining the Island Nursing Home Board of Directors should reach out to board member Skip Greenlaw at [email protected] or 460-1260.

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