Aldersgate Village nurse speaks out about COVID-19 outbreak at facility

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 6:38 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A nurse at Aldersgate Village retirement community, who asked to remain anonymous, is speaking out following a coronavirus outbreak last week at the facility.

Aldersgate Vice President of Operations, Carol George, told 13 NEWS Sunday that eleven residents and five staff members have tested positive for the virus.

Leading up to the positive results, the worker said they haven’t been transparent with staff or residents families.

“It’s mostly through the grapevine that we find out things,” the nurse said, “As far as upper management and administration, they don’t tell us much. The less we know the better.”

Aldersgate administration declined to go on camera, but told 13 NEWS they alerted the community when an employee tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

After testing close contacts, George said they discovered several more positive cases Sunday morning.

The nurse said quick action was not taken to prevent the spread.

“The problem came last weekend when we found out there was a positive staff member who worked on our dementia unit and a resident did pop a fever on Saturday night I believe,” the nurse said, “The doctor was notified, the administration was notified and that person didn’t get tested until Thursday and then by then, that unit had six positive cases.”

The nurse said staff members are working hard to care for the residents, but are also worried about their own safety.

“Our direct unit managers try to console us that they’re doing everything they can, but as far as upper management and administration, they have nothing to do with us. They won’t even address our concerns,” the worker added.

They said some of those concerns include lack of PPE and being under-staffed.

“This month all bonuses have been taken away, we never received any kind of stimulus, there’s no incentive for people to come in,” the nurse continued saying, “We are so grossly understaffed it’s appalling. We can’t give appropriate care.”

Aldersgate said in a statement the situation at the facility is stabilized.

The nurse fears residents and their families are not getting the whole truth.

“It’s just heartbreaking because they are just as scared as the rest of us, only they’re getting less information than we are and even the information we get, we don’t know if it’s reliable or not it’s through the grapevine,” they added.

Unhappiness in the workplace has led the staff member to consider getting a new job and claims they aren’t the only one.

“We’re all looking at new jobs and ways to get out of this whole field. We’re all very frustrated.”

Aldersgate administration said everyone who tested positive has been moved to a special isolation unit.

George said they are also working with the KDHE to do more testing on all residents and staff.

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