HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Special Committee on the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home COVID-19 Outbreak put Secretary of State Marylou Sudders on the spot, and addressed the staffing issues that contributed to the inability of stopping the spread of the virus.
Sudders testified before the committee chairs, Senator Walter F. Timilty and Representative Linda Dean Campbell during Thursday afternoon’s virtual hearing. She answered questions on staffing shortages and other labor concerns that have been brought forth by family members and staff during their investigation.
Sudders said she was stunned to find out there was no permanent staff schedule, and the use of overtime. She called for appointing a permanent superintendent with a nursing and medical background. She explained to the committee why even that could not have prevented the tragic outbreak.
“There was not the internal processes, clinical, management and operations to withstand a pandemic. What happened at Holyoke was a complete collapse, because it didn’t exist,” said Marylou Sudders.
Sudders said a permanent staffing structure went into effect on January 4th, along with the “CMS” gold standard for hours of care for each individual resident. They’ve also ramped up the nursing hiring process at the home.
This is was the fifth in a series of hearings hosted by the Special Committee that is tasked with making legislative recommendations, to ensure another tragic outbreak never happens again at a long term care facility in Massachusetts.