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Board: "Bite the bullet"

Ossipee select board supports new nursing home

July 17, 2009
OSSIPEE — With a member of the Carroll County Legislative Delegation in attendance at Monday's meeting, the select board expressed unanimous support to build a new Mountain View Nursing Home. The delegation votes Monday, July 20, on expending $300,000 for site work for the new building.

County Commissioners are invited to attend the Ossipee Board of Selectmen meeting next Monday night to further discuss the proposal. Delegation member Susan Wiley (D-Center Sandwich) attended this past meeting, however, and answered some questions from the board.

While the vote was not official, Selectman Harry Merrow, a former state representative, expressed support for the plan.

"I would just like to say, unequivocally, I am in favor of building that nursing home," said Merrow.

"And I'll second that," said Select Board Chair Kathleen Maloney.

"When I was on the delegation there, we spent hours going over the same things they seem to want to rehash now and I don't think there's any need for it," said Merrow. "And if you do it later, it's going to cost more. Let's bite the bullet and do it. Besides, I'm getting older and I might be down there," he said.

Selectman Morton Leavitt said "we'd be insane not to build a new nursing home," but that just by looking at the design, he said it looked more like a "retirement center" than a home, with many roof lines. "I'm wondering if a design could have been done for substantially a lot less money," he asked. "A nursing home isn't a 'retirement center.'"

Maloney said nursing home and their designs have changed from a place where the elderly go "to die," to a place that includes rehabilitation services, so some residents are rehabilitated to the "highest level of functioning and some of those people do walk out."

Merrow added that the design phase was likely far enough along that any major changes would incur redesign costs. "If we start this thing all over again, it's a mess," he said.

Wiley added that the lack of windows for all residents have presented a marketing problem for the old home, whereby the newer incoming residents prefer windows.

From the audience, Wiley said the design was such to provide a window for each resident in the home. Currently, if there are two residents to a room the one with seniority gets the window, and often they are too incapacitated to enjoy the benefits of a windowed room.

"They've had a lot of hearings about the building and the architecture, and those questions have been asked very many times. The reason there are so many lines, it's an attempt to make certain that every room that has a patient in it has a window. And that's why the design is the way it is. That's been one of the big marketing problems at the Mountain View Nursing Home is that you are in half of a room, and if you have some seniority you get a window, but obviously half of the people there have no window. It turns out that some of the most sick people have the window because they've been there the longest which is hard for a new person coming in, who is not so debilitated, who would really want to have a window," explained Wiley.

Commissioners have held public forums on the new home proposal in towns including Wolfeboro, Conway, Wakefield and Moultonborough.

Wiley said another feature is that the home will have a rehabilitation facility so they will offer physical and occupational therapy, and will provide services to the community.

"The whole concept is quite different that what we have now, but there will be storage space, which means they will be able to keep 103 people instead of needing to use the hallways and patient rooms for storage, which keeps the census down between 93 and 97 instead of 103 people," she added.

The home currently employs 74 Ossipee residents, and houses 18 elderly residents from the town.

Wiley asked if it was fair to say the three Ossipee selectmen support the new home proposal, and they responded that it was. Merrow offered to provide a letter of support.

Other business

Resident Kevin Houle questioned why the town was auctioning off 15 tax acquired properties in this current real estate market. "Why are we having an auction when real estate has rock bottom prices?" Merrow replied that the properties have minimum bids, and that the purpose was to get the properties in question back on the tax roles. Houle said some of the lots were landlocked. "The timing is all wrong," he added. Leavitt agreed with Merrow, adding "it's our obligation to get these properties paying taxes."

Selectman also discussed whether the town's building inspector David Senecal needs a fill in person when he goes on vacation. Maloney said there was a person that required an inspection for an occupancy permit when Senecal was out recently. The board agreed to talk to him about how often this occurs and whether he needs a backup.

Maloney also asked Public Works Director Brad Harriman to get samples of the various plastics to display at the recycling center since many people are still co-mingling the different types.

The Ossipee Board of Selectmen meets every Monday at 4:15 p.m. at town hall.

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