Area elder care facilities offer more than just pay, benefits to attract help

Beth Welbers
Geneseo Republic
Abbigail McGee, a senior at Geneseo High School, recently finished work for her Girl Scout Gold Award, a Butterfly Garden at Liberty Village Memory Care Addition.

Every business seems to have hung out the "Help Wanted" sign in Henry County, like everyone else in the rest of the state.  

The senior care or nursing facility industry is in the same situation.  Every care facility seems to be looking for additional staff. 

A discussion with several facility administrators have found a variety of differences, but common threads as well. 

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Liberty Village of Geneseo is a facility that can assist at various levels of care.  Single family duplexes, retirement apartments and Assisted Living situations are all available within the properties run by Liberty Village.  

A loved one might start  in the duplexes, with assistance available for them should it be needed.  Yard work and general maintenance is handled by the facility, leaving residents free to socialize or pursue interests.

In the apartment setting, meals are part of the arrangement, as well as housekeeping. This leaves residents free to pursue social interests with others in the community, without giving up privacy.  Medical professionals are only a call away.

Liberty Village also has 30 Assisted Living rooms, where residents are cared for, with regular supervision of medications, hygiene and meals by staff. Memory Care is available for residents with dementia,  An activities based program is used to keep minds active, and residents engaged. 

According to Lynn Lenz, the facility director, Liberty Village is looking for help in the form of nurses aides, cooks, housekeeping, CNAs, as well as maintenance.  

Besides the usual benefits one might get working for Liberty Village, a scholarship program is available for employees wishing to add to their skillset, moving up from nurses aide, to CNA, even on to LPN or RN.  They are willing to arrange schedules to accommodate classes in these cases.  Help is cross trained in order to fill in when a team member is out.

A rewards program rewards employees who refer friends and family to the Liberty Village family by receiving a bonus for the referral. 

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Hammond-Henry Long Term Care in Geneseo offers skilled care and rehabilitative care for residents.   Residents stay in private or semi private rooms, with round the clock access to medical staff.  Activities and onsite services keep residents engaged and entertained. 

Nicole Kittelson, Long Term Care Manager, also echoed the need for CNAs and nurses.  As with other facilities, Hammond-Henry offers continuing education scholarships and tuition assistance for employees looking to increase certifications.  Flexible scheduling will accommodate students looking to balance work and schooling. 

Hammond-Henry Long Term Care has received a 5-Star rating consistently over the last ten years  from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  It  is only the second in the USA to achieve such an honor. 

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Robin Tippitt, administrator with the Hillcrest Home in rural Geneseo states that due to their unique situation they are not understaffed, as they are owned and funded by the county.  Residents are on a waiting list, and new residents are admitted based on staff-to-resident ratio. 

Currently Hillcrest is looking for help of many kinds.  Nurses, nursing assistants, CNAs and kitchen help are all on the list of openings.  Tuition assistance is also available for upgrading skills and increasing pay grades.

Tippitt also states that they recently worked out a new union contract which now offers greater pay to allocated positions and auxiliary staff.  Excellent benefits due to the county affiliation are one draw for prospective applicants, according to Tippitt.

Hillcrest residents enjoy a Valentines Day lunch in the activity room.  Residents are treated to regular outings such as ice cream socials and  pancake suppers.