Local elected leaders respond to claims of mistreatment and neglect at Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– Feeling trapped, like you can’t escape is how Colleen describes the past eight years at Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing.

“I just feel like being in here is like a prison.”

Resident colleen, van duyn center for rehabilitation and nursing

A comparison every resident we’ve spoken to has made, and it’s stories like this that lead local elected leaders to pay a recent visit to the facility to find out what’s really going on behind closed doors. 

“There are still a lot of unanswered questions,” State Senator Rachel May said.

May toured Van Duyn alongside Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh and State Senator John Mannion. 

“I was also kind of concerned that they rolled out the red carpet for us and made it showed us these beautiful parts of the facility but didn’t really hear details about what they’re doing to address the complaints that we’ve heard,” May said.

May said administrators of the for-profit company brought the elected leaders to the top floor of the facility, where no one lives and says the answers they did receive sounded more like excuses. 

“I can’t say that we learned a whole lot from it.”

State Senator Rachel May

But she’s hoping a soon to be released Department of Health report will provide some real answers. 

“They went in a few days before we were there and have not issued their report about that visit yet but I think we’re all waiting to hear what they have to say,” May said. 

And while elected officials are hoping to find solutions to these problems, many residents think it’s too far gone. 

“I really think it needs to be shut down.”

resident shari, van duyn center for rehabilitation and nursing

The Department of Health investigation is expected to be released later this month. As soon as it’s available, you’ll hear about it here on NewsChannel 9. The DOH added that nursing homes are required to submit a written plan of correction when deficiencies are cited. 

If you or your loved one has experienced neglect or mistreatment at Van Duyn you can file a complaint with the State Health Department by calling (888)-201-4563. You can also contact us here at NewsChannel 9 by emailing YourStories@LocalSYR.com

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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