In the aftermath of Harold Perryman speaking-out about the recent death of his wife, Beatrice, who contracted the novel coronavirus and the abuses that she endured while at the Elm Manor Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Jen Sims, a disability rights advocate reflected on her short time inside that same facility.
Sims who suffers from M.S. transferred to Elm Manor after being stationed at UR Thompson Strong Memorial Hospital in order to obtain rehab services around this time last summer, but she didn’t end-up receiving any treatment.
“I had come from Strong and Strong gives you great care, and I was so shocked that I went to such a filthy disgusting place,” Sims told FingerLakes1.com.
For Sims, leaving Strong Memorial Hospital felt “kind of like shellshock.”
Instead she had to stay in her bed throughout the duration of her three-day residency.
“They told me I had to stay in bed all weekend, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to do that. I’m 36-years-old. I’m an active person, let me out of bed,’” she said.
Although at times Sims truly felt alone at Elm Manor and trapped inside her bed, she shared a room with Beatrice “Bea” Perryman, the wife of Harold – where the pair quickly bonded and became friends, as they both faced several cases of abuse and neglect together.
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“I got to meet my roommate Bea, and she just sat there and cried, and they would hate her. They would get her out of bed in the morning and she would sit in her bodily waste. I sat in mine for like, all day long. They don’t care,” Sims shared.
She also alleges that she rang her bell on numerous occasions, and no staff would arrive within nearly three-hours.
“They’ll walk by your room and they won’t stop,” she added.
Sims has a severe egg allergy, something that the staff at Elm Manor was allegedly made well-aware, especially Administrator Christina Oropeza.
Yet, Elm Manor kept serving her meals that contained egg ingredients.
Although Oropeza verbally communicated with her, saying that she would no longer be given eggs, it still happened each day, according to Sims.
“We’ll make sure you won’t get eggs. That’s the last thing she told me on Friday, and then all weekend, that’s all I got,” she claimed.
Fortunately for Sims, if it wasn’t for her family delivering her meals, she wouldn’t have been able to eat at all during her three-day stay since the facility did not accommodate to her dietary restrictions.
“I’m definitely allergic to eggs and that’s all they ever gave me was scrambled eggs and my family had to bring me food to eat so I didn’t die,” she added.
On Saturday morning, Sims remembers needing assistance while using the restroom since she cannot do so on her own, and she didn’t get that either.
“So, then the next morning I had to go to the bathroom, and I have to sit up to go to the bathroom because I can’t empty my bladder. So, I was lying in bed crying. My bladder was about to explode like literally, and I was crying in bed, begging somebody to help mean they’re like we can’t get out of bed and I’m like, I can’t sit up and go like a normal person,” she recalled.
At that same time, Sims remembered an older woman aide who “always demoralized” her, making her “feel like a child” who kept calling her “honey, sweetie, and baby,” partly because of her disabilities.
On one occasion, this same aide complimented Sims about her rear, claiming that she had “such a cute little tush.”
But beyond these specific memories of neglect, Sims claims that some staff at Elm Manor were simply punitive and physically abusive.
“So, they’re very physically abusive there,” she said.
On her second day as a resident, she even witnessed a physical altercation when a woman aide allegedly struck Bea, her roommate – who later passed from COVID-19 at Elm Manor, nearly a year later in late May.
“I remember her hitting Bea. She didn’t want to go to bed at seven, and they wanted her to go to bed and she was crying. They wanted her to go to bed so they could have a staff member leave to go to a party, and Bea’s like, ‘I don’t want to go to bed at seven o’clock. I don’t want to go to bed.’ And the lady came in and shoved her and then slapped her and got her in the foyer and then put her to bed and then we just sat there and cried all night,” Sims remembered.
Although Sims could not recall the woman aide’s name, her imposing presence remained as a constant pressure throughout her horrific stay at Elm Manor.
“She raised her voice a lot to other people, and whenever I was in the meal room, you would see them get frustrated with people. When they were trying to eat, and they would just grab like throw their hand down and grab their silverware and shove their food in their mouth,” she shared.
Despite staying at Elm Manor for three dragged-out days, it seemed that the families and relatives of residents at the nursing rehab center were not connected or better-informed about the current happenings that occurred with increasing frequency during her residency, based on her observations.
“I just wish families were more involved with the care that the seniors got once they go into these homes because most of the people that live at Elm Manor, I never seen anybody come in to see or check on them. So, then the staff that beats them becomes their quote unquote family,” Sims explained.
After her stay and when she was discharged after protesting her brief residency, she characterized Elm Manor as “not like a warm fuzzy place to be” after she has visited several rehabilitation centers throughout the Finger Lakes for longer durations of time – a minimum of two-weeks.
Based on her own personal experiences, Sims strongly encourages the families and friends of residents at Elm Manor “to take control” and figure-out what’s going on with their loved ones, especially now when nursing home facilities across the state are still restricting visitation in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19.
“Do your part and research this stuff and find-out how your family is being treated and stand up for them and it can prevent the next person from being treated that way,” she ended.