NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — “My grandmother was my best friend,” Anthony Laudano told News 8. “There’s never enough time to say goodbye, to be honest.” And that’s true, especially not in the time of COVID-19.
Laudano said that by the time the assisted living facility where his 96-year-old grandmother lived informed her family she was sick, it was too late.
“All the info we were getting was that she’s good, and then one day, they call and say she has 102 fever. They didn’t want to take her to the hospital ’cause she was too old,” recalled Laudano.
Marion died from a massive heart attack after the family insisted on taking her to the hospital. Laudano believes that was a complication of COVID-19.
Other families, too, said they’re getting little or no notification that their loved ones are ill even though the state said it’s required.
News 8 took the complaints directly to Barbara Cass at the Connecticut Department of Health (DPH).
“Whenever there’s a change in condition for a resident, the family members or responsible party are notified,” Cass said. “If that’s not happening, we do want to talk to families. That would be a complaint investigation. But during the course of routine surveys, I suspect we’ll be touching these facilities again. We are following up looking at medical records to ensure when a patient has become positive family members are notified.”
As for those homes with high levels of COVID-related patient deaths and union-reported worker infections, DPH said they are investigating PPE and staffing levels but so far have not had to activate their long term care mutual aid plan to evacuate any residents.
“At this point, we have not identified any of those situations, but this situation is so fluid that’s not to say that at 5 o’clock tonight operations or systems in the buildings could fall apart,” said Cass.
Family members like Laudano told News 8 they are asking for transparency from nursing homes and more testing of patients and staff.
“I hope moving forward they’re honest with everyone and they tell everyone what’s happening day to day, and they can’t just not tell people and push it off and say they’re understaffed and they’re in chaos,” Laudano said. “Everyone else is in chaos too.”