Butler County hiring event shows stresses on care facilities

Butler County will be hosting a drive-thru job fair this week, hoping to fill 28 positions at its county-run nursing home while underlining the changes happening to senior care facilities and for job seekers in general.

The drive-thru fair will be held Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. in the parking lot at the Care Facility, 1800 Princeton Road in Hamilton. Officials are seeking an assistant business office manager, three nurses, 20 nursing assistants, and four kitchen and laundry staff.

OhioMeansJobs Butler County is hosting the event and Business Services Manager Missy O’Brien said this is the agency’s first drive-thru job fair.

“Our goal is to make sure everybody stays in their car,” O’Brien said. “Sometimes we hear people are seeking employment but they just have that fear of going into a place no knowing what the requirements are or anything like that so we’re just going to have them drive through.”

Human Resources Director Laurie Murphy said officials are using both the nursing home parking lot and sheriff’s facility overflow lot to stage the fair. There will be a greeter tent where applicants can find out about the positions, register and get an application. Once they fill out the application they’ll proceed to the next tent where Murphy’s staff will check the credentials to make sure they meet minimum requirements. Murphy and another staffer will be at a third tent for interviews.

During the coronavirus pandemic the county nursing home has had difficulty finding people who want to work at the facility.

“There’s multiple factors, there’s the COVID factor, there’s the working in a long-term care, any kind of medical or clinical facility, I think right now is a challenging time to be working in that industry,” County Administrator Judi Boyko said. “And there is such a demand for those positions and the supply is very, very, very limited. This industry is really hurting.”

Back in April the job vacancy count was around 18. Boyko, said several people have been hired, but some resigned.

“We’re having trouble filling night shift, we’re trying to fill those positions as quickly as possible,” Murphy said.

The nursing home has been addressing the staffing issue by lowering the census at the 109-bed home, from 74 in April to 61 now.

Boyko said the reduction has happened through attrition. The home has always been a place of last resort for many needy residents, and Boyko said they have not turned anyone away due to short staffing.

“There have been some admissions that we have not accepted but they were for other reasons than we are not accepting admissions,” Boyko said. “They might not have been the right fit, we may not have had the critical care that we could provide them, multiple reasons.”

Commissioner Don Dixon, who is in the long-term care field, said the industry is “upside down right now.” Staff are hard to find because of childcare and other issues and people are leery about putting their loved ones in an isolated environment with no visitors.

Eventually, he said they need to bring the census back up at the financially fragile home, once they can hire staff.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Boyko estimated expenses exceeded revenues by about $1 million, mainly due to some slow Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. That number dropped closer to $800,000 last month, according to County Finance Director Angel Burton.

“We really need to bring the numbers back up but in the situation that we’re in you really have to be awful, awful careful who you bring in as a new resident because of the COVID,” Dixon said. “So we’re kind of just maintaining at that level until we get a little clarity on this virus.”

Job seekers who can’t make the drive-thru can call 513-785-6612.

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