News10NBC Investigates: What it’s like to live in a short-staffed nursing home

[anvplayer video=”5085253″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For months, News10NBC has been reporting on short-staffed nursing homes tasked with caring for the most vulnerable members of our community. We’ve heard from countless worried family members who weren’t allowed to visit through the pandemic and nurses and certified nursing assistants who feel like they just can’t keep up.

Jan Frost lives at Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

“I got in a car accident and broke my back, I am paralyzed from the waist down,” he explained.

Frost doesn’t require a lot, a few medications daily, meals, help with toileting and showering.

“I kind of stay to myself so, I stay in my room a lot,” he said.

During the height of the pandemic, visitors were not allowed.

“Every once in a while, it’s depressing it really is,” he shared.

During and since then, due to staffing shortages, nurses and CNAs haven’t been able to provide much comfort because there’s just not enough time.

“There’s a lot of turnover, mostly afternoon and night shift,” he said, “they call people from agencies that don’t know anybody and don’t know the routine so it’s kind of hard for them.”

The staffing problems have translated into other issues for Frost too, “I’ve had a problem getting my pills, medicines late because of staffing problems,” he recalled.

One of Frost’s biggest complaints has been the food.

“We get sandwiches almost all the time,” he says and when they don’t, “it’s just terrible, garbage pretty much is what I told them…They write down my complaints and they said they’ve had problems in the kitchen and they’re working on it,” he told News10NBC.

In an email, Lawrence Mennig, the Administrator of Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center tells News10NBC, “With almost two years of living in an unprecedented pandemic, the “Great Resignation”, the Vaccination Mandates have created severe staff shortages nationally – not only for LTC industry but all major industries as well. Health care- Nursing Homes/Hospitals have lost 450,000 health care staff. Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and the employees have been challenged by all of this. The effects the Pandemic have changed the daily lives of the residents and personnel throughout the industry. The effects are not only seen at the facility, but also in the community at large. Many of the residents are at the front lines alongside the staff members and are challenged every day. The facility has been managing the pandemic through various approaches to provide sufficient staff to ensure consistent quality of care. SRNC has been proactive in addressing these challenges since the Pandemic began in Early 2020. Sodus Rehabilitation & Nursing Center have been very appreciative of the support and understanding of the residents and their family members throughout this pandemic, and are the families have been empathic during these challenging times of COVID. Staffing challenges are hitting the entire industry. This includes each and every level of employee. Regarding any concerns at the facility, we have a grievance policy, and we try very hard to correct those issues in a timely manner. Even in these challenging times we strive to persevere and provide consistent higher quality of life. As challenging as this may be, Sodus Rehabilitation & Nursing Center continues to make every effort to positively impact residents and our community."

Frost gets it and does his best to be understanding but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy.

“They are stretched out, understaffed… they’re working double shifts and it’s getting to them. Morale is not good,” he said.

Residents and family members can review Nursing Home and Long Term Care Facility inspection records by searching the NYSDOH database.

If you have a complaint against a nursing home or LTC facility, fill out this form.