A version of this project appeared in the Sunday New York Times Sunday November 1, 2020
As the NYT reported on July 30th, 41 percent of US COVID deaths are linked to nursing homes.
Clove Lakes Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center in New York is a very typical example of what happened in nursing homes across NYC and the US. The majority of workers contracted the virus early on and they lost dozens of patients.
Over the course of several months I photographed inside the COVID unit. I followed several patients and staff members from the COVID unit to rehab where their recovery was painfully slow.
The nursing home was the end of the line for patients who spent weeks intubated in local hospitals before being transferred to the nursing home, many still testing positive. The COVID patients were a mix of transferees from hospitals and those who contracted it while being patients in the home.
Jeanna Englemann, SLP feeds a patient at Clove Lakes Nursing home and Rehabilitation Center in Staten Island, NY. Coronavirus spread rapidly through the long term residents early on in the pandemic.
Physical Therapist Lana Bass, adjusts her face mask in the COVID unit at Clove Lakes Nursing Home and Rehab Center in Staten Island, NY. She lost her husband, also a medical worker, to COVID, 2 weeks earlier.
Photos on Jeanna's bulletin board show life before the COVID pandemic.
Jeanna and Lana put on extra level of PPE before entering a new patient's room for an evaluation session. The PPE protocol has been a work in progress as the facility has to improvise in order to protect their staff.
Mrs. P., a patient in the COVID unit, sleeps in the hallway. She died later in the week.
Shawn McArthur, CNA changes Mrs. N., a patient in the COVID unit. Mrs. N. passed away later in the week.
Shawn catches his breathe in the changing room in the COVID unit after a long shift.
Ryszard Zajewski, PT bring balloons to a mentally disabled patient in the COVID unit.
Jeanna shakes out a garbage bag in the COVID unit. She is wearing a washable PPE over her disposable PPE. Each reusable PPE goes in a plastic bag before being placed in the dirty laundry bin.
Ryszard and Lana eat lunch in the break room in the COVID unit. The remove their PPEs and store them in plastic bags before entering the break room. Once staff enters the COVID unit they may not enter the other wards of the nursing home for the remainder of the day.
A nursing assistant takes a nap in the break room in the COVID unit during her lunch hour.
Lana and Ryszard do physical therapy with Mrs. Amarossa in the COVID unit.
Mra. Varnis spent 2 months on a ventilator in a local hospital before spending several weeks in the nursing home's COVID unit. After finally testing negative she was moved to a regular ward to continue her PT. Before COVID she led an active life. After 3 months in medical facilities she struggles to stand on her own.
After leaving the COVID unit, Sal continues his PT. Sal runs a large electrical contracting company but his recovery from COVID is complicated by his MS.
Ryszard and Sally help Sal practice standing in the PT room in the COVID unit.
Despite leaving the COVID unit, Sal still struggles to stand on his own. He requires a hoyer lift to get in and out of bed.
Lana wraps Mrs. Amarossa in a sheet after her physical therapy session in the COVID unit.
Svetlana, who suffers from dementia, contracted COVID while being a long term resident in the home.
Svetlana, who suffers from dementia and COVID, is given a shower by a nursing assistant.
Marsha spent 7 weeks on a ventilator in a local hospital where she also underwent a tracheotomy. Jeanna, who is teaching her to speak with a device inserted into her tracheotomy, holds Marsha's phone while she says her first words to her daughter in 2 months.
Mrs. Varnis' husband Mike arrives at Clove Lakes for training on how to care for his wife when she returns home the following week. This is the first time they have seen each other in over 3 months.
Jeanna checks Mrs. N.'s swallowing in the COVID unit. Mr's N. died later in the week.
Elaine's husband Mike convinced staff to let him sit with his wife after being trained on how to care for her when she returns home later in the week. They had not seen each other for over 3 months.
Svetlana has PT after leaving the COVID unit. Staff use her favorite doll to motivate her.