ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In the wake of the New York Attorney General’s report on nursing homes during the pandemic—which said that some of the residents who died were at risk because of staffing shortages—NEWS10 spoke with one patient who says she was shocked at what she saw at Shaker Place in Albany.
Margaret Lynch says that as a 78-year-old former nurse, she thought she’d seen it all. But she was disappointed to be wrong after a five-week stay at Albany County’s Shaker Place Rehabilitation and Nursing.
“I tell you honey, I’ve been in the field 40 years at the job,” she says. “The care was unbelievable.”
Lynch says after a slip and fall in January, she was sent to Shaker Place for physical therapy and lived in the rehab ward. She says that from what she saw, both her ward and the nursing home were severely understaffed.
“You had two aids for 40 patients and a head nurse,” Lynch says.
The recent report from Attorney General Letitia James investigating nursing homes and COVID-19 practices found elder care facilities that suffered previously low staffing before the pandemic also suffered a new wave of shortages as staff contracted the virus. This put residents at greater risk for catching and dying from COVID-19.
Lynch says while she did see good COVID safety protocols at Shaker Place, the limited staff was still unable to keep up with basic needs like changing bedpans or administering medicine on time.
“They got burned out because they’re running from me to her, to her, to her,” Lynch says. “I couldn’t blame them, in a way, after I heard that.”
NEWS10 reached out to Albany County to ask how the administration at Shaker Place responded to low staffing levels, whether third party assistance was brought in, what mental health resources and compensation was made available to strained staff, and to verify how many open positions need to be filled. So far, we have not received a response.
Lynch says it’s not just the residents who need help, it’s the staff, who needs more hands on deck. “They can improve in hiring help,” Lynch says. “They’ve got to hire help, these people need them.”