East Aurora nursing home works to fix technology, communications 'glitch'

With restrictions on in-person visits, families count on technology to keep in touch with nursing home relatives
Posted at 5:54 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 18:15:43-04

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) — COVID-19 restrictions have made it hard on families with a relative in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility.

While New York State has reduced the restrictions for nursing home visitations, many families are still counting mainly on technology to keep in touch with their loved ones.

That is why 7 Eyewitness News investigated a viewer's complaint that phone lines were not working properly at Absolut Care of Aurora Park in East Aurora.

The viewer, who asked to be identified as Jeff, said he is unable to visit in-person, due to COVID restrictions, his retired, senior mother in the rehabilitation unit. He was also advised that window visits are not permitted as his mother shares the room with another individual.

Since his mom has no cell phone, Jeff said he feels cutoff and frustrated. "No physical visiting, I can understand. But the phone and the window, you feel locked out."

7 Eyewitness News reached out to Absolut Care and received the following explanation about the technology glitches that were affecting communication between family members:

"In an effort to ensure a high-quality living and working environment, Absolut Care of Aurora Park upgraded our staff computers and internet system last week. In the evening of Sunday, September 27th, the final component of our guest wifi was switched over necessitating the reset of a password. Our staff is assisting residents in entering the new wifi password on their devices and has posted it throughout the facility

Today, we learned of an interruption to the incoming calls on unit A. The phone carrier has been alerted and is enroute to the facility to fix the issue.

Upgrades are being made throughout the facility by our new management to better serve our residents, their family members and our staff; we appreciate their patience and support during this transition. As always, family members are encouraged to call the facility directly if there are ever any questions or concerns."

Absolut Care sent a follow-up email later in the day saying the phone problems were fixed. Those problems only affected incoming calls for in-room phones in Unit A. Residents still had the ability to call out and families could still contact the facility and nurses station.