New York Rehab Honored for COVID Response
BY JESSICA MEDITZ
In an age where healthcare workers have sacrificed their time, safety and sanity, nursing home employees are no exception. This is especially true for the staff of New York Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, a 280-bed facility located in Astoria, which focuses on providing residents with top notch, personalized care.
Although circumstances made it a lot harder for staff to meet and exceed their standards of care for residents, they persisted and worked as a team — which ultimately led to them being recognized in Newsweek’s “Best Nursing Homes” awards. The most recent nominations were determined by three criteria: overall performance data, peer recommendations and each facility’s handling of COVID-19.
“We are happy to be recognized,” said Patty McGrade, director of Medical Records at NYRC. “We have 397 employees, and they’re working so hard.
“People don’t understand when I see that TV commercial with the lawyer saying you can sue the nursing home if your person gets COVID, I just feel like calling and saying, ‘You have no idea,’” she continued. “People truly did go above and beyond what they were supposed to be doing here.”
McGrade saw the work ethic and quality care on both sides, as her husband was a resident at the center. She said she’s incredibly thankful for all the nurses and CNAs who went the extra mile feeding patients, giving out medications, answering phones and more — all while trying to stay safe from COVID-19 themselves. Like many other facilities during the pandemic, NYRC struggles with being short-staffed. Therefore, all available nurses are utilized across all units.
“Even the caregivers themselves can get sick, and the ones who have been able to work doubles,” said Maria Garcia, a case manager and the facility’s MDS Director.
She said that with the highly contagious nature of the omicron variant, NYRC has been extra vigilant with its safety protocols. This includes employees wearing protective gear, frequent sanitizing, temperature checks and questionnaires, social distancing and negative tests for all visitors.
With all COVID circumstances in mind, the center offers ample amenities for residents to help them feel at home, such as cozy lounge areas, nutritious meals, daily recreational activities and a terrace on the nine-story building’s rooftop.
Garcia added that NYRC is unique in that it has a diverse staff, offering multilingual engagement and religious services. Most of all, she emphasizes that every staff member hopes to restore a sense of dignity and zest for life in each resident.
“In this profession, you are trying to help people understand and realize that even at this stage in their lives, they still have to move on,” said Garcia. “Because most of these people they think when someone is here, they are dumb. But they’re the furthest thing from that, so you try to motivate them.”