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Staffing issues lead to dozens waiting for beds at New Hampshire Veterans Home

<i>WMUR</i><br/>The waitlist for veterans seeking to live at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton is long – and growing. Sixty veterans are waiting to move in and 90 beds are empty
WMUR
The waitlist for veterans seeking to live at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton is long – and growing. Sixty veterans are waiting to move in and 90 beds are empty

By Adam Sexton

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    CONCORD, New Hampshire (WMUR) — The waitlist for veterans seeking to live at the New Hampshire Veterans Home in Tilton is long – and growing.

Sixty veterans are waiting to move in and 90 beds are empty, but staffing issues are preventing the home from filling the beds. Top state officials are trying to find out how long some veterans have been on the waitlist.

Executive Councilor Cinde Warmington raised the issue at Wednesday’s governor and council meeting.

“I’ve asked about this before, and I’m told consistently there are staffing issues, but this is just unacceptable,” she said.

“This has been going on for many years,” Executive Councilor Joe Kenney said.

Councilors said the staffing shortages at the Veterans Home are chronic, but they became much worse in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Chris Sununu said it’s not a surprise to hear that 60 veterans are on a waitlist.

“Almost every institution across America has waitlists, because there’s such a shortage of nurses. There’s such a shortage of staff,” Sununu said. “Unfortunately, it’s not a surprise.”

Kimberley MacKay, the commandant of the home, said that for the time being, the home is trying to retain some of the contract nurses who come to the state.

“Sometimes they see how wonderful it is to stay here and they stay,” MacKay said.

State officials did not have information available about how long veterans remain on the waitlist. The governor said he expects nursing recruitment to improve if the Legislature passes a state employee pay raise, but Warmington said she believes there should be more urgency to solve the problem.

“We owe this to our veterans,” she said.

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