‘We were used’: Hundreds of nursing home workers are laid off as financial crisis hits the facilities


Last spring, as coronavirus swept through Connecticut and the state’s nursing homes became ground zero for deadly outbreaks, nursing aide Gloria Duquette pushed aside her fear and continued showing up for her shifts.

Duquette was working upward of 80 hours many weeks between her two jobs at Kimberly Hall South in Windsor and Saint Mary Home in West Hartford, stringing together enough hours to pay her bills despite concerns of catching the disease.

But in July, after occupancy at the homes dropped, rehabilitation services slowed down and a floor at one of the facilities was closed as part of a planned renovation, Duquette’s hours were drastically scaled back. She’s now working 48 hours a week, which nets her less than $500, and struggling to pay her rent and utility bills.

“I feel like we were used,” said Duquette, of Bloomfield, who has watched several of her colleagues at Saint Mary lose their jobs recently. “Nobody cares about us.”

The problem is playing out across the industry. As nursing home residents die and the facilities see far fewer short-term residents – people who need rehabilitation or other post-acute care – homes are left with more empty beds. Weakened by revenue loss and added expenses associated with the pandemic, nursing homes in Connecticut are now resorting to widespread layoffs and reductions in employee hours… https://bit.ly/35mknk7

Gloria Duquette works as a certified nursing assistant at two facilities in greater Hartford. “It’s a very tough time for nursing assistants,” she said. “We’re doing the job that family refuses to do a lot of times. By doing it, we should be recognized. We don’t want to be called heroes and then treated like garbage.” / Yehyun Kim :: ctmirror.org

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