NY mandate that brings COVID-19 patients to nursing homes drawing worries from WWII vet's daughter
The effort to free up hospital beds has prompted the state to require a local nursing home to take in some coronavirus patients.
Christine Altieri is devastated after hearing New York state is mandating nursing homes take COVID-19 patients who are discharged from hospitals. Her father, World War II veteran Dieter Moog, currently resides at a Gurwin facility for rehab.
The mandate requires nursing homes to take in both returning patients and new patients.
Altieri says she's nervous because her father has underlying health conditions.
PHOTOS: The impact of the coronavirus worldwide
"I got a phone call from the nursing home telling me they had to move my dad's room because they had to make room in his wing for the COVID patients," says Altieri. "
Gurwin CEO Stuart Almer says they were not surprised by the mandate.
"We had hesitancy, which is natural for any skilled nursing facility, but we also recognize we need to help the hospitals who are really going through a challenging time right now," says Almer.
Almer says they are prepared to take in as many as 20 patients who are in stable condition, and they have 25 empty beds.
"So we're going to take advantage of using our specialty units," says Almer. "We have an advanced care unit, as well as a ventilator unit but those will be for COVID-19 negative residents. We're making other adjustments though with regard to taking positive patients."
Dr. David Siskind, chief medical officer with Gurwin, says they do have a plan in place for the safety of their employees and patients.
"So we are isolating the patients who are currently here at Gurwin from the area that we are going to be housing the known COVID-positive patients," says Siskind. "There are doors that we will be closing and then there will be no movement throughout those areas."
Despite the steps in place, Altieri says she is taking her father out of the nursing home.
"I can't have him die in there," she says. "I promised him his whole life he'll never end up in a nursing home."