LANCASTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – Inside the Harris Hill Nursing Facility in Lancaster, there was a room in which Dean Martin songs always seemed to be playing. That room belonged to Marie Caserda.
“When I think back, I had girlfriends that had issues with their mother. I can’t say I ever had issues with my mother,” said Linda Turri, Caserda’s daughter. “My father was kind of a strong Italian patriarch. My mother was very loving, caring, and always there for me in every part of my life.”
Caserda died Monday at the age of 96. “Covid” is listed as a cause of death on her death certificate.
But Turri says a staff member at the nursing facility told her that her mother had beaten the coronavirus after contracting it earlier this month.
“We felt the communication was not what it should have been,” Turri said.
Harris Hill has a top five-star rating from the New York State Department of Health. It is operated by The McGuire Group.
“We carefully followed the well-documented advance directives of this patient as well as the attached guidelines set forth by the (Department of Health),” said Dawn Harsch, a spokesperson for The McGuire Group.
“Our residents’ loved ones are contacted by our staff through the designated health care proxy/representative regarding any changes in status, including that related to the COVID virus. Adjustments to our COVID contact policy were made on the first business day after the order was given by the government. It is the health care proxy’s responsibly to communicate with appropriated family members,” Harsch also said.
Harsch said privacy laws prevent her from sharing any specific medical information until she gets the permission of the family’s health care proxy.
On Thursday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the New York State Department of Health and Attorney General Letitia James would team up to investigate nursing facilities which violate state orders relating to COVID-19. There are some answers Turri would like to get as well.
“Do they have the PPE they need?” she wonders. “Are they following the protocol? Are they testing? What are they doing with the testing results? Are they isolating? Do they have enough staff?”
On Cuomo’s announcement, Harsch said nursing homes in New York State have more regulation than nuclear energy. and their staff works diligently to comply with those changing regulations.
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2017. See more of his work here.