County families mourn, celebrate loved ones lost at Brighton Rehab – News – Ellwood City Ledger


Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Heart is the location of Pennsylvania’s largest reported COVID-19 outbreak at one facility. Some households of misplaced family members yearn for closure amid administrative secrecy, whereas others say workers at Beaver County’s largest nursing dwelling wants assist, not scorn.

BRIGHTON TWP. — Ala Mazzocca was a voracious reader, proficient seamstress and grasp card participant, her daughters boast.

The Italian immigrant moved to western Pennsylvania as a teen shortly after World Struggle II and shortly made a house in Aliquippa — opening her personal bar and beginning a household.

Mazzocca, or “Nani,” turned 91 earlier this yr and celebrated with household at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Heart in Brighton Township, the place she’d lived for 5 years. Her daughters, Barbara Macurak, 61, and Patricia Mazzocca, 64, each of Heart Township, visited her virtually each day on the nursing dwelling.


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“It’s a must to go to typically to keep up a way of management in an enormous place like that,” Macurak stated. “She’s your mother, so that you do what you need to do. We by no means had any points as a result of we have been at all times there.”

When Macurak stopped by on March 12 to find emergency automobiles blocking facility entrances, she thought perhaps there was a hearth.

“I had no concept what was occurring,” she stated. “Information in regards to the coronavirus was nonetheless fairly new, and we had no concept how horrible it might get.”

As soon as officers defined there had been a COVID-19 outbreak on website and contaminated residents could be moved to a separate wing, Macurak sensed the visitation restrictions have been in the most effective curiosity of public well being and went dwelling.

She didn’t count on her mom’s residence would quickly turn into the location of Pennsylvania’s largest single-facility COVID-19 outbreak.

She and Patricia Mazzocca made a number of makes an attempt to examine on their 91-year-old mom with dementia through cellphone and e mail for 2 weeks. Many calls went unanswered, and people who did reply offered few particulars on their mom’s situation. At one level, the 2 thought of calling police.

Some restricted communication got here later, with workers and directors assuring the sisters there was nothing to fret about.

On April 6, after a number of days of silence, directors at Beaver County’s largest nursing dwelling stated they might cease releasing COVID-19 numbers to the general public and as an alternative presume all 750 staff and residents could also be optimistic for the virus. The choice was made to guard asymptomatic sufferers after consulting the state Division of Well being, firm leaders stated.

The final time Brighton workers launched numbers, there have been 42 residents and 10 staff with optimistic instances, in addition to 5 deaths. Beaver County commissioners stated final week the Pennsylvania Emergency Administration Company now reported not less than 104 optimistic instances on the nursing dwelling, though new Pennsylvania Division of Well being information signifies that quantity is way increased.

Folks reported to have contracted novel coronavirus within the U.S., by day

The state studies there are 192 instances of COVID-19 in three unnamed Beaver County nursing properties. That features 181 residents and 11 staff, with 30 deaths. Two services aside from Brighton Rehab — Concordia at Villa St. Joseph in Baden and Rochester Manor and Villa — have each reported one case. Rochester Manor reported a resident contracted the virus, whereas the case at Villa St. Joseph was an worker.

In keeping with ZIP code-based information launched Monday by the state, Brighton Rehab may have as many as 161 COVID-19 instances, together with as many as 151 residents. That might account for about 54 p.c of the county’s 298 complete infections. The 30 nursing dwelling deaths characterize almost 85 p.c of the county’s complete deaths.

The state’s ZIP code information signifies there doubtless is an outbreak at a fourth facility within the county, however state officers have been unable to verify.

Pennsylvania doesn’t present a breakdown of instances at every website, and Beaver County doesn’t have a well being division to assist present further data. It’s primarily as much as personal services to report numbers to the state.

State DOH officers will not be factoring recoveries into each day COVID-19 updates, so it’s unclear what number of of those sufferers have since recovered. Brighton Rehab in a latest assertion stated roughly 50 p.c of those that examined optimistic at the moment are asymptomatic and “have returned to baseline,” warning that no county within the nation has but eradicated the virus.

“We’ll doubtless see extra optimistic residents and there will probably be tragic lack of life,” the assertion stated.

Following weeks of “spotty” communication from Brighton Rehab workers, Macurak and Patricia Mazzocca obtained a name from the medical director’s workplace letting the household know their mom — and quite a few different sufferers — could be receiving doses of the malaria-treatment drug hydroxychloroquine as a preventative measure.

The unproven drug, touted by President Donald Trump for its skill to ease some signs of the novel coronavirus, continues to be present process scientific trials. Medical doctors and researchers have had combined outcomes whereas finding out the drug’s effectiveness, and a latest French examine discovered hydroxychloroquine was related to a better threat of coronary heart issues.

“They’re making an attempt to place out a hearth with a glass of water,” Macurak stated. “I felt that if I stated no to the remedy, they might assume I need my mom lifeless.”

The final time both sister spoke to Ala Mazzocca immediately, she was unable to type a coherent string of phrases, they stated, which was uncommon for her.

“It seemed like phrase salad,” Patricia Mazzocca stated. “The nurse I spoke to stated they seen that and weren’t positive what motion they have been going to take but. It indicated one thing was mistaken.”

Per week later, on April 9, workers referred to as once more to report Ala Mazzocca was completely wholesome apart from bedsores.

“Bedsores have been uncommon for her,” stated her grandson, Andrew Macurak, 32, of Washington, D.C.

“She wasn’t going to run a marathon, however she did not lay in mattress all day. So, for her to have bedsores means she had been bedridden for some time. I believe every little thing means that she was not fantastic when directors referred to as my aunt to say she’s fantastic. It suggests she was sick for some time and both they didn’t discover or didn’t present correct data.”

4 days later, Ala Mazzocca died of pneumonia. Her household desires to know if this was a complication associated to COVID-19 and why they weren’t advised of her situation sooner. Macurak stated she might have moved their mom to a different facility for medical care if she had identified.

“Somebody may have gotten me on Skype along with her,” Macurak stated. “I needed her to listen to her voice, and I believe listening to my voice would have been an incredible consolation to her. However I used to be denied that chance.”

If Brighton gained’t launch numbers and very important data to even sufferers’ households, “somebody must become involved, both on a state or federal stage,” Patricia Mazzocca stated.

Andrew Macurak desires to make sure everybody on the facility is receiving applicable care, he stated, which is difficult with restricted transparency and entry.

“I need to know that my grandmother, in her remaining days, was comfy, clear and brought care of,” he stated. “The dearth of transparency makes me concern that she was not and that different individuals are not getting that care, both.”

The household has not but obtained Ala Mazzocca’s dying certificates to verify the official reason for her dying.

Kaycee Cline, 36, of Beaver, wasn’t shocked by the outbreak in Brighton Rehab. Her 73-year-old grandfather, who doesn’t have COVID-19, has lived on the nursing dwelling for 2 years. Directors have been “very” communicative along with her household in the course of the preliminary outbreak, she stated, however stopped responding to calls two weeks in the past.

“It’s an enormous place,” she stated. “Crowded on a superb day, they usually have at all times struggled, in my view, to maintain sufficient workers. I don’t assume it’s the nurses’ fault or something, it’s a product of an unsustainable healthcare trade and questionable administration.”

Christine Geer of White Township had a distinct expertise with Brighton Rehab workers forward of her mother-in-law’s coronavirus-related passing on April 9.

Brighton Rehab workers was “phenomenal” and usually referred to as her household all through the ordeal, she stated.

Lola Barkfelt, 68, of White Township, was the second individual at Brighton Rehab to be identified with the novel coronavirus in mid-March. She was residing within the east wing, the place the constructing’s outbreak started.

“They referred to as to tell us she was operating a fever and examined her for COVID-19, and the subsequent day they acquired the check ends in and gave us a name,” Geer stated. “They went over a recreation plan and I accredited it. They did not change any of her drugs with out approval from me.”

Barkfelt had lived on the nursing dwelling for almost three years. Geer and her husband have been initially nervous about placing Barkfelt in a nursing dwelling, so the 2 made it some extent to usually examine in to make sure she was receiving correct care.

“I made some extent of by no means sticking to a schedule,” Geer stated. “They by no means knew after I was going to point out up.”

Geer is “very happy” with how Brighton handled her mother-in-law, and feels workers did every little thing proper to attempt to save her in the long run. Barkfelt had Alzheimer’s illness, diabetes, hypertension, congestive coronary heart failure and two stints in her coronary heart.

“I actually assume if it hadn’t been for her underlying illness, just like the Alzheimer’s, she would have pulled by way of,” she stated. “Her physique simply lastly shut down. No matter they have been doing for her, they have been doing the appropriate factor.”

Geer’s outdated household buddy, Deb Rickard, continues to be residing within the east wing combating her personal battle with COVID-19. Geer stated the New Brighton resident, now in her 60s, is on the mend.

“She is pulling by way of,“ she stated. ”Issues are getting higher on the east wing.”

Employees is exceptionally short-handed proper now, Geer stated, however nurses are doing their half to maintain up with each the bodily and psychological well being wants of sufferers. She stated criticizing Brighton Rehab workers is misguided, and hopes the group will come collectively to assist them struggle it on the entrance traces.

“In a bunch dwelling like that, when you have got COVID-19, you are going to have a scorching spot,” she stated. “If everyone seems to be so nervous about Brighton Rehab, how about sending some volunteers over there. These poor ladies need assistance; that is what they want.”

Employees writers Dani Fitzgerald and Daveen Rae Kurutz contributed to this report.



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