“Don’t put your loved ones here,” warns resident at Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– When your loved one is placed in a nursing home you expect they’ll be taken care of, but for some living inside Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, that hasn’t been the case. Far from it.

“This is hell, this is hell.”

resident, van duyn center for rehabilitation and nursing

This is the feeling one resident at Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing said she wakes up with everyday. 

The 61-year-old, who wishes to remain anonymous, found herself at Van Duyn after she was dropped from her home healthcare company due to staffing shortages. 

She thought her stay would be brief but four months later she’s still there and feeling hopeless.

“There’s never enough aides here, they don’t help…You’re always calling your call button and they’re turning it off at the front desk. The call button means you need help, not just go and turn it off. You spend 45 minutes waiting for an aid to come,” the resident said.

And that’s not all, the resident claims she’s only been given one shower since arriving on July 6 and is almost never taken out of bed, something she can’t do on her own.

“And they let the aides do whatever they want. The aides are on their phones especially like the nurses they’re dispensing medicine to their patients but they’re on their personal call. How can you concentrate what medicine you’re putting in if you’re on the phone?” she said.

And the resident said she’s had to find a new homecare agency on her own, a task the social workers were supposed to help with. 

And this isn’t the first time she’s speaking out, she reached out to the New York State Department of Health to file a formal complaint. 

When we reached out to the DOH, they wouldn’t talk about the way Van Duyn treated this woman, but sent a statement instead: 

​​“To hold nursing homes accountable for the quality of care they provide, the New York State Department of Health regularly conducts unannounced surveys at every nursing home in the state in accordance with federal regulations.  Investigations require Department of Health investigators to conduct interviews, review medical records and other facility documentation, and perform other activities onsite at the nursing home.  The Department will continue to hold Van Duyn and all other nursing home operators accountable for their actions.”

New York State Department of Health

But the resident is sending this message to other families.

“Don’t put your loved ones here. If you hate somebody, put them here, but if you love somebody you don’t put them here.”

resident, van duyn center for rehabilitation and nursing

The Van Duyn administration declined to go on camera with us for an interview but sent a statement. You can read the full statement below. 

First and most importantly, Van Duyn’s administrators want to assure you that there is nothing more important to us than the care and wellbeing of our residents, and that they are receiving the care and respect they deserve in our facility. We believe that everyone is on the same team in wanting the best possible care for them.

The COVID-19 pandemic was, of course, devastating for the entire healthcare industry. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities like Van Duyn were especially challenged. Van Duyn has experienced significant staffing challenges related to the lack of healthcare workers including, but not limited to, nurses and certified nursing assistants. This caused unfortunate, yet unavoidable, delays in care.

Our administration is taking appropriate steps to ensure that our treasured seniors are receiving the level of care they require and deserve. Some of our current efforts include:

Working to recruit and retain the very best healthcare workers for our facility to alleviate the impact of staffing challenges.

Advocating for legislation that will allow Certified Medication Aides (CMAs) to work in nursing facilities and administer medications, freeing up time for RNs and LPNs to focus on resident care.

Stopping new admissions in order to focus on providing the very best care to our current residents. (161 of our 513 beds are currently not being filled.)

Working with elected officials to draw attention to the issues we are facing, so they may use this information to advocate for our residents and our facility.

We understand the tremendous responsibility we have as caregivers for our treasured residents, and we take that responsibility seriously. If residents or family members have concerns we encourage them to reach out to administrators directly, so that we can respond promptly.

Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing

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