nursing homes

New York state nursing homes were permitted to reopen for visitation in July, and since then, many have limited visits to outdoors, keeping families on lawns and patios while taking advantage of the warm summer and early fall weather. 

 

But now, in mid-October, many question what will happen as the temperature drops.

 


Office of Brian Manktelow

Last month, New York State reduced the number of days a nursing home must be free from COVID-19 in order for families to visit from 28 days to 14, which the state Department of Health said will open up access to 500 of the state's 613 nursing homes. But a group of upstate lawmakers say there are still too many barriers in place.

Karen DeWitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

A small band of protesters gathered Wednesday outside the state capital to demand that Gov. Andrew Cuomo loosen restrictions for visiting residents at nursing homes. But so far, the governor shows no sign of changing the rules.

Office of New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy

New York lawmakers may try to reform the state’s nursing home industry in light of thousands of COVID-19 deaths, and they don’t have to look far to find an example in another state. 

 

 


Humboldt House Rehab and Nursing Center

Health inspectors found safety shortcomings at 77 New York nursing homes during the coronavirus pandemic, including basic infection-control violations like failing to have staff wear masks or wash their hands, according to records and state officials.

Loretto

New York state announced this week it is easing visitation rules at adult care facilities. Families can now visit their loved ones who are in assisted living facilities if there has not been a case of COVID-19 there in at least 14 days, down from the previous requirement of 28 days.

AARP

New York will begin allowing visitors to see loved ones at nursing homes that have been coronavirus-free for 14 days, down from 28 days under previous rules, the health commissioner said Wednesday.

Left: Courtesy of Ondrea Pate; Right: Courtesy of Victoria D'Angelo

More than 40% of the country’s now more than 180,000 COVID-19 deaths are linked to nursing homes, according to a New York Times database. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki has been covering the impact on local nursing homes throughout the pandemic. In this week's story from “The Toll,” he spoke to family members who lost loved ones in two local long-term care facilities.

 

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Republicans are celebrating a possible U.S. Department of Justice inquiry into the COVID-19 crisis in New York state nursing homes, while others are concerned that the action is politically motivated.

 

Albert Pautler

The Trump administration said Wednesday that it’s requesting data from a handful of states, including New York, to determine if the federal government should open a civil rights investigation into how those states have handled COVID-19 at nursing homes.

Dan Clark / New York NOW

Republicans in the state Legislature are hoping that support from a handful of Democrats on a bill to establish an independent probe into the state’s handling of nursing homes during the COVID-19 crisis will garner momentum for the measure.

Tom Dinki/WBFO file photo

New York state nursing homes have long been plagued by understaffing, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made matters worse. Despite this, the state Department of Health opposes a bill that would mandate minimum staffing level standards in nursing homes. 

New York State Senate

Family members of nursing home residents, testifying at a legislative hearing this week, told harrowing tales of neglect and unresponsive staff and administrators while the COVID-19 pandemic raged in New York this spring.

New York State Legislature

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker declined to testify at Monday’s public hearing on the COVID-19 crisis in upstate nursing homes, leaving lawmakers to instead question nursing home stakeholders about issues like shortages of testing and personal protective equipment, as well as restrictions on visitation.

 

 


New York State Legislature

Monday’s public hearing on the COVID-19 crisis in upstate New York nursing homes will likely feature talk about reforming visitation policies and a lack of personal protective equipment, but don’t expect to hear from who some consider the state’s most important nursing home witness, state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

 


Office of the Governor

The New York State Legislature on Monday held the first of two hearings on the thousands of COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents. Questions to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s health commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker, focused on a controversial March 25 directive that required nursing homes to take back COVID-19 patients from hospitals.

Tom Dinki/WBFO News

New York state finally gave nursing homes permission to allow visitation July 15, but more than two weeks later, the overwhelming majority of nursing homes remain closed off to visitors. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki examines the slow reopening, which some blame on nursing homes not planning ahead and others blame on what they say are overly strict state guidelines. 


WBFO/Michael Mroziak

Organizers of what was called the Strike for Black Lives say Monday's nationwide event was a call to governments and corporations to confront systemic racism in society and in the economy. In the Buffalo area, 1199SEIU members also used the occasion to raise awareness of working conditions in local nursing homes.

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center

Residents of the Schoellkopf Health Center in Niagara Falls are being allowed to have visitors. Visiting has been barred since mid-March because of COVID-19. 

NYS to allow limited visitation at nursing homes

Jul 11, 2020
Office of the Governor

New York State will now allow limited and regulated visitation at nursing homes that have been free of COVID-19 for at least 28 days, the state Department of Health said Friday.

Kevin P. Coughlin / (Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo)

A New York state report released this week found that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial executive order, which placed COVID-19 hospital patients into nursing homes, was not to blame for the state’s more than 6,000 nursing home deaths. But, as WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki found, many, including Republican lawmakers, watchdog groups and medical professionals, still have questions about what impact the order had.

 

 


Office of the Governor

A coalition of government reform groups say the New York State Legislature should consider limiting some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency powers gained during the pandemic and return, at least remotely, to meeting in session to set policy for the state.

New York state has been criticized for previously mandating that nursing homes take in COVID-19 patients from hospitals. But on Monday the state Department of Health issued a report saying the policy was not the major driver of nursing home deaths, and that it was instead nursing home workers unknowingly bringing the virus into facilities. WBFO’s Older Adults Reporter Tom Dinki spoke with Dr. Nancy Nielsen from the University at Buffalo to discuss the report and what it does — and does not — confirm about the state’s more than 6,000 nursing home deaths.

 


Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker issued a report Monday on the likely cause of deaths from COVID-19 in New York’s nursing homes that he says shows the virus came in through infected staff, not through hospital readmissions. 

 

 


MIke Desmond / WBFO News

It was the symbolic power of flowers, for joy or for tragedy, that decorated a remembrance Thursday for 298 people who have died in area nursing comes during the COVID-19 crisis.


Reed image WBFO file photo; Scalise photo courtesy Scalise.House.Gov

Congressman Tom Reed, a Southern Tier Republican, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise are calling for an independent investigation of how five states, including New York, managed COVID patients and nursing homes as the coronavirus pandemic was growing. Governor Andrew Cuomo, they say, defied guidelines by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services when ordering nursing homes to take in patients who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Catholic Health

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says visitors will now be allowed for patients at hospitals and residents of group homes for the developmentally disabled. But nursing home visits remain off limits, for now.


Mary O'Brien

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing increasing pressure to relax a ban on nursing home visits. The ban is intended to protect residents of long-term care facilities from coronavirus infections, but many feel the policy endangers senior citizens in another way.

Nursing homes are asking New York regulators to ease up on a twice-weekly coronavirus testing mandate for their employees.

Ryan Zunner / WBFO News

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited both Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and Buffalo General Hospital, Thursday, for a tour of the work the facilities are doing in both treatment and research on COVID-19. He also participated in a roundtable discussion with local business leaders on what they're doing to ensure safe re-openings.

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