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Waterbury Gardens nursing home ordered to close, residents await placement

Hazel Saunders sits in her room at Waterbury Gardens. She says she has found happiness at the nursing home like nowhere else.
Shahrzad Rasekh
CT Mirror
Hazel Saunders sits in her room at Waterbury Gardens. She says she has found happiness at the nursing home like nowhere else.

The state is looking to help place nearly 20 residents still remaining at Waterbury Gardens Nursing and Rehabilitation, after a judge ordered the nursing home shut down.

A recent report from a court-appointed receiver overseeing the nursing home described the failure of the hospital-grade ventilator system, water damage to elevators and evidence of overnight employees sleeping on the job.

Mairead Painter, the state’s long-term care ombudswoman, discussed the next steps for residents.

“The state worked with the Hospital for Special Care in order to have other beds opened in a special unit in order to support these individuals,” she said. “And I know Gaylord has some ability to support individuals as well as there's a building in the Bristol area that has the ability to support individuals on ventilators.”

The residents will receive a 60-day notice with a discharge plan, and some residents are likely to appeal.

Meanwhile, the facility filed a notice with the state on impending layoffs beginning as early as Nov. 6, impacting 125 employees at the facility. In a letter dated Sept. 6 to the nursing home employees, receiver Katherine B. Sacks said that depending on the rate of discharge, “we may need to scale down staff to meet the needs of the remaining residents and satisfy our fiduciary obligations to spend money responsibly.”

Painter said beyond Waterbury Gardens, the problem is systemic.

“We see the financial support that the state gives to the facility going out in management fees or going out of the facility in other ways; we want transparency, we want to have a better understanding of that,” she said. “We're not seeing it go back into the physical plant either. That's why we have a lot of buildings where we have physical plant issues. We see boiler issues, roof issues, mold issues.” 

Painter said the state is also in talks with several nursing homes to potentially install ventilator units to be able to accommodate the remaining residents.

This story has been updated.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.
Matt Dwyer is an editor, reporter and midday host for Connecticut Public's news department. He produces local news during All Things Considered.

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