Care compromised, ex-nurse at Buffalo nursing home says
Former employee cites understaffing, lack of supplies at Ellicott Center
“I left because ethically and morally I couldn’t handle it anymore.” – Joy Elizabeth Catalano former director of nursing at Ellicott Center.
For Joy Elizabeth Catalano, the breaking point came the night more than a dozen nurses and aides called in sick.
Then the director of nursing at Buffalo’s Ellicott Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, Catalano recalled only three licensed practical nurses and one certified nursing aide on duty that night in June 2017 to care for about 150 residents. Normally, she said, there would have been 16 or more nursing staff.
A month later, Catalano resigned.
“I left because ethically and morally I couldn’t handle it anymore,” Catalano said.
Catalano shared her experiences at Ellicott Center after reading a Buffalo News story about a woman who lost her left eye in 2016 because of the nursing home’s failure to administer drops to her eye following cataract surgery.
Catalano said she was hired in 2017 to help implement a plan to prevent similar incidents. But after five months, she said, understaffing, a lack of supplies, including clean towels and sheets, and the failure of the facility’s out-oftown owners to correct those problems led to her decision to leave. ANALYSIS
The News’ ongoing series of stories on nursing homes found that 16 of the 47 nursing homes in Erie and Niagara counties have been bought by for-profit, out-of-town investors in the last 11 years. Most of those homes are among the worst rated in the region, have a high rate of complaints that result in citations from the state Health Department and have a disproportionate number of fines. Time spent per day by registered nurses with residents at these homes is often less than the state average.
Ellicott Center is among those nursing homes. In October, it dropped from an overall two-star rating, or “below average, to a one-star rating, “much below average,” the lowest rating in the federal government’s five-star system for nursing homes.
Home on Page A7