ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Adult Day Healthcare programs in New York State are still closed and have been since March 17. These programs serve adults with disabilities and many participants and staff say they don’t understand why they can’t reopen safely.
Anne Hill is the executive director of the Adult Day Healthcare Council. She said the state has given no timeline as to when these programs can reopen.
Patty Toscano used to look forward to her Adult Day Healthcare program more than anything. Her sister Barbara Ziemniak said it’s not easy explaining what’s going on.
“She was very sad. She missed her programming she would constantly ask me why they threw her out, she had no concept of understanding that it had stopped,” Ziemniak said.
These programs offer personal care, nursing, therapies, social activities, and more. Hill said the effects of closure have been detrimental.
“We’ve seen a widespread increase of hospitalizations, nursing home placement over the past 10 months, we’ve seen a big impact on caregivers who are unable to return to work and Adult Day Healthcare workers who have lost their job,” Hill said.
Ziemniak said she believes they could reopen safely but in the meantime she’s been taking care of her sister full-time.
“It’s difficult for me because now I have 24/7 care of her and love her as much as I do, she’s high maintenance,” Ziemniak said with a laugh.
Hill said she’s hoping the vaccine can help them reopen soon, and the staff are working to link participants with access to the vaccine. Ziemniak is working with her sister’s doctor to get her vaccinated.
“If the clients could get the vaccinations and get back there I think it would benefit them extensively. Many of them lived to go to program,” she said.
Hill also said while she appreciates the governor’s push for more telehealth services, telehealth is not a replacement for in-person services.
There are around 600 people served by 15 of these programs in the Rochester area.