MMCC struggles long-term with only short-term help

Maple Manor Care Center (MMCC) is committed to providing quality and professional care to its long-term residents. However, in order to do that, MMCC administrator Connie Hakanson explains the facility has come to depend on contracted employees to do just that.

Posted 10/31/19

By Melissa Anderson

We spent over a million dollars on contract staff last year. So when you look at that, if we could have had our own staff, we could have given some pretty healthy bonuses, but we can’t do that cause we have to make every month count,” Hakanson shared.

For Hakanson, the frustration with attracting the employees that are needed has been an ongoing issue. From offering incentives such as bonuses to paying for training in some positions, nothing has seemed to gain the facility the local employees it desires.

“I wish money would be the issue. I also think it’s more difficult to get people committed today than it was years ago cause everybody in this era jumps from one job to the next to the next to the next,” Hakanson said.

MMCC likes to have consistent employees on staff as this gives better care to the residents. Hakanson explained that when the staff are consistent from housekeeping to dietary aides and even maintenance, the level of care improves as the staff know the residents on a more personal level. The same can be said for the nurses and certified nursing assistants that work at MMCC. When the residents become more than just a room number, their care and happiness improve.

“We’ve tried to pin down what is the issue. I don’t think it’s all financial. I think a lot of it is their time, ‘it’s on my time’ and the dedication,” Hakanson said.

As rural care facilities like MMCC struggle to find staff, the number of agencies that supply contracted workers increases. The agencies are no longer just working with nurses as Hakanson shares that there are now agencies that provide support staff such as housekeeping.

“You cannot believe the calls and the emails we get from agencies that are looking to put people in positions as they see our ads. They call us, and they want to put people in place to do these jobs,” Hakanson stated.

MMCC is not alone in this situation amongst rural care facilities, and even within the larger cities, there is a struggle to find caring individuals. Hakanson notes that the facilities within Minot, Bismarck and even Fargo are also resorting to contract staff for positions despite having the larger populations to pull from. Having colleges in town also does not appear to be helping the situation.

“I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” Hakanson said.

With some of the most competitive wages and benefits within the Langdon area, Hakanson is unsure how to tackle the need for staff. Like many businesses within Langdon and across Cavalier County, all Hakanson can do is keep advertising and hope for a change in mind-set among the available workforce to seek employment with the long-term in mind.

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