HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — After struggling through a COVID-19 lockdown, and the death of patients during the pandemic, advocates, residents and employees of long-term care facilities gathered Thursday in Hartford to warn legislators about a lack of staff and their quality-of-life concerns.

“Instead of handling five or six people yourself, you’re getting 15,” said Jeanette Sullivan-Martinez, a resident at a long-term care facility who stressed that a lack of staff has a ripple effect. “So, people are still getting decent care, but it’s taking so much longer, and there’s more accidents. People aren’t getting fed on time, they’re not out of bed when they choose to be. We need help, we need help.”

Advocates held a press conference outside of the Legislative Office Building, holding up signs and photos of the ongoing issues. The group said new legislation would benefit staff, residents and families.

Those proposals include stronger protections for residents, allowing those in the facilities to visit nearby family and requiring air conditioning in nursing home residents’ rooms.

“Some of the buildings have air conditioning in the rec room or hallways, but if you’re stuck in bed because there isn’t enough, you can’t have access to the cooler temperatures,” said Mairead Painter, the Connecticut State Long Term Care Ombudsman.

Other potential bills would tackle issues involving the lack of staff in the facilities.