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Wesley Gardens evacuated, what’s next?

Jennifer Lewke
Updated: December 27, 2019 05:46 PM
Created: December 26, 2019 05:48 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – The fallout from a major water problem at a local nursing home continues.

Over the last few days all of the residents at Wesley Gardens Nursing Home which is located on Upton Park in Rochester, have been evacuated to other local nursing and rehabilitation facilities.

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“This is the first time that it [total evacuation] has happened in this area so we practice and practice is great in theory but it’s always different in real life,” said Nichole Halsey, the Director of Nursing at The Hurlbut, which took in 18 of Wesley Gardens’ residents.  

A number of other facilities including St. John’s and Shorewinds have also accepted Wesley residents on a temporary basis.

Late Thursday, the administrator at Wesley Gardens told News10NBC that cleanup at the facility is underway following a sprinkler issue that damaged every floor.   

Initially, only about 30 residents were transferred, but on Christmas Eve the decision was made to evacuate the remaining residents because the sprinkler malfunctions had damaged the elevators and elevator shafts.

State records show Wesley Gardens was cited by inspectors for issues with its sprinkler system just a few months ago. 

News10NBC has also learned the facility was in the middle of a Transfer of Ownership to a downstate group when the sprinkler issue happened. 

So, will that ownership group want to make repairs, or just move on? 

The administrator says they have every intention of making repairs and welcoming residents back.  

“I think right now the projected point of how long these residents will stay is around two to three months, Halsey added.

When asked whether The Hurlbut, Shorewinds and other facilities that took in the residents are appropriately staffed to handle the influx of patients Halsey said: 

“We are very lucky to have a great team and all of our staff here are more than willing to pitch in to do extra hours.  I think we are lucky here we have more staff than some other homes so our residents are very well cared for with great medical teams that came in last minute to come help out. We also are receiving some help from Wesley so their staff are here as well which is great because they’re familiar with the residents.”

News10NBC has also learned that some of the residents from Wesley Gardens were moved to Sodus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center which we’ve been investigating for years for subpar care and staffing shortages.

In an email to News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke, administrator Judson Mccaull said:

“Thank you for your interest in this issue. Our facility has accepted resident transfers and our staff have undertaken heroic efforts over the holidays to ensure that all residents are safe and well cared for at Sodus. We are very proud of the extra efforts of our staff to coordinate these admissions given the very short time frame involved. As you know, we cannot discuss protected resident information due to the confidentiality requirements which apply to all nursing homes but appreciate your follow up regarding the transfers. Our facility is very well suited to provide care in this regard and is an institutional resource for the overall community in times of crisis involving the frail elderly.“

The New York State Department of Health has been overseeing the evacuation process and the intake of the residents to other facilities.  

When asked about the lack of communication that family members say they’ve been receiving from Wesley Gardens a spokesman for the department said:

“Wesley Gardens will continue to staff the main telephone line (585-241-2100) of the nursing home 7 days per week from 8 a.m. through 9 p.m. daily. The facility also have a process in place where callers can leave messages after hours.  As always, any family who has a complaint about care rendered (at any facility in New York State) can call the Nursing Home Hotline at 1-88-201-4563 24 hours a day.”


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