Forty dead, now 40 laid off – the untold stories of crisis in a New York City Nursing home

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At the beginning of the pandemic, Clove Lakes Health Care and Rehabilitation Center in Staten Island was one of the deadliest places in New York city, with 40 residents dying in a month.

Six months in the pandemic, the workers who prayed for the sick at the nursing home, and cared for them, now face a second crisis: The nursing home recently laid off more than 40 employees, and the remaining employees are afraid they could be the next, according to the New York times.

The workers situation is just a fraction of the untold stories of the pandemic. Most employees of the Nursing homes never spoke publicly about their experiences according to the report, because the homes did not let them.

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“It’s not good,” Jeanna Engelman, a speech pathologist at Clove Lakes told Nytimes. Speaking with an openness that has been rare among nursing home workers, Engelman said all they can do is worry. “Every time we get paged, we wonder why.”

For the employees, the story of the pandemic begins with the most basic question: How do you go to work when you know that the next shift might be the one that kills you or your loved ones?

“It’s horrible,” said Lorri Senk, the administrator at Clove Lakes, where revenues have fallen by half, even with the infection rate now close to zero, because patients are afraid to go there. “People are being told by the doctors at the hospital, ‘Don’t take your mother to a nursing home.’

“And you have certain family members who just won’t pay. They’ll say, ‘I have to keep my mother’s Social Security check this month because I lost my job.’”

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Clove Lakes is not the only center engulfed in the crisis. A recent survey of homes nationwide, showed that more than half said they were operating at a loss, and nearly three-quarters said they could not last another year if things did not change. Read more

Layoffs thought to be temporary are now permanent for nearly 4 million Americans