Nursing home worker dies of COVID-19 after refusing to abandon patients


Possibly sometime, after COVID-19 is defeated or no less than put instead, Claudia Boughman and others like her will likely be honored.

She’s not a warfare hero.

She didn’t race right into a burning constructing.

Claudia Boughman labored at New Daybreak Rehabilitation and Well being Care Middle, a nursing house in Dover. She couldn’t bear the considered residents being alone. Not of their twilight years. And definitely not when a virus was plucking away the weakest, sickest and oldest amongst us.

Seemingly due to that, she’s lifeless.

Gone final month at age 62. The virus that killed her got here swiftly. Earlier than she might get pleasure from her personal golden years. Three years earlier than a deliberate retirement journey to Alaska along with her sister, Lorrie Gray.

“I wished her to cease working,” stated Gray, who lives in New York. “We talked on the cellphone every single day; I informed her ‘You’re 62 years previous … keep house.’”

No method, Boughman informed her.


It was no shock. Working with seniors was Boughman’s calling and persona. She had a knack for making residents smile and chuckle, generally enabling them to neglect a ache or fear, if just for a second.

“She was so kooky, wild, loopy,” stated Jessica Celesnik, considered one of Boughman’s two daughters. “Simply the best way she’d stroll by way of the hallways.”

Boughman’s profession started as a cosmetologist. Her first nursing house job was reducing hair at Nation Garden, close to Navarre within the early 1990s. She favored it there a lot, she grew to become a nurse’s aide, then went on to get faculty levels to grow to be a social employee.

After lengthy stays working at Nation Garden, then Meadow Wind nursing house in Massillon, Boughman had lately moved on to New Daybreak.

“I might go in along with her after I was a child,” Celesnik recalled. “I’d learn playing cards to (residents). … I began working there myself after I was 17 years previous.”

Like mom, like daughter.

The 39-year-old Celesnik grew to become a nurse, specializing in nursing house work, too. At present, Celesnik is admissions coordinator at Altercare Nobles Pond nursing house in Jackson Township — although she stated she’s frolicked as a ground nurse through the COVID-19 disaster.

“We each knew, with our jobs, that we had been in danger,” Celesnik stated.


An administrator at New Daybreak didn’t return cellphone requires remark for this story.

The nursing house, which has 98 licensed beds, is very rated by the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Providers requirements. It’s a 4-star (of a attainable 5) facility. It’s rated 5 stars on high quality of care.

Like many nursing houses, although, it’s been struck by COVID-19. In response to Ohio Division of Well being statistics by way of July 1, New Daybreak had logged 36 resident instances and 15 workers instances of the virus.

Celesnik stated she’s undecided precisely how her mother obtained the virus — and added it doesn’t matter.


In mid-March, she and her mother had agreed to avoid one another, to cut back threat for them and residents on the nursing houses the place they labored.

“I solely noticed my mother 4 instances since,” Celesnik stated.

On April 6, they exchanged birthday presents and talked outdoors. On Mom’s Day, Celesnik was working a 12-hour shift at Altercare, so her mother introduced her Dunkin’ Munchkins and an iced caramel macchiato — their regular snack routine after they went procuring.

The third time was on Memorial Day. Boughman got here to her daughter’s Canton house for a social distance cookout. They’d been beginning new household traditions, following the dying three years in the past of Boughman’s husband, Charles — Celesnik and her sister’s stepdad.

“Two days later, she informed me she had signs,” Celesnik recalled.


Boughman obtained examined for COVID-19. She had it. Then, her well being obtained worse. By the top of the vacation week, she was so worn out that she might barely transfer. On Sunday, Could 31, an ambulance took her to Aultman Hospital, the place it was straight to intensive care.

Celesnik stated her mother was given plasma with COVID-19 antibodies at Aultman — a part of a scientific trial being carried out by way of the Cleveland Clinic.

“She began getting higher,” Celesnik stated.

Boughman despatched images of a hospital monitor that confirmed her oxygen stage had improved. Quickly, it appeared, she’d get well. She’d be her previous self once more, amassing heart-shaped rocks and oodles of flamingo collectible figurines.


The following two weeks, although, grew to become a irritating push and pull of hope and despair. Based mostly on Celesnik’s Fb posts and her reminiscence of occasions, together with recollections of her mother’s sister, it went like this:

On June 3, Boughman’s situation started to slip. She was positioned on a BiPap, an exterior ventilator to drive her lungs open to breathe.

“They couldn’t say what was going to occur; they only didn’t know,” Celesnik recalled of her many conversations with medical workers.

Per week later, it was dire.

“She simply saved deteriorating,” Celesnik stated.

A tube was inserted down Boughman’s throat into her lungs and he or she was placed on a brand new ventilator. On June 9, she went on an ECMO machine, which despatched her blood to a synthetic lung to be oxygenated, earlier than it was pumped again into her physique. She was flown to Cleveland Clinic.

Twice a day, Celesnik known as for updates.

“She’s secure.”

“She’s secure.”

Celesnik heard that time and again.

A tracheotomy was really useful and carried out. It could present extra consolation for Boughman, whereas nonetheless forcing air into her lungs.

“We’d had discussions (earlier than) about finish of life,” Celesnik stated.


Celesnik stated medical doctors started to make use of the uncommitted phrase “cautiously optimistic” in describing her mother’s potential for restoration.

“That phrase will stick to me the remainder of my life,” she stated. “She’s on a machine that’s working her coronary heart and lungs. I’m undecided how a lot worse it might get.”

Earlier than that they had an opportunity to debate her mother’s care plan going ahead, Celesnik stated she acquired a name from a neurologist on June 18.

Boughman’s pupils had been mounted and dilated. A scan revealed she had suffered a mind hemorrhage. Mind surgical procedure was an choice; the chances had been lengthy.

“We determined in opposition to it,” Celesnik stated.

Celesnik and her boyfriend drove to Cleveland, to be along with her mother. Celesnik remembers placing on robes and masks. She pulled a chair beside the mattress the place her all the time boisterous mother lie unconscious.

At the very least, Boughman wasn’t alone.

Celesnik held her mother’s hand for 3, perhaps 4 hours, till her coronary heart stopped.

This report is from the Canton Repository, part of the USA Today network

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