Home ends water crisis


Correction appended.

After water stopped flowing to the more than 300 elderly residents of Schervier Nursing Center on Jan. 3, Edna Hayes’ children offered to check her out of the facility so she could stay at one of their homes. But Ms. Hayes, 73, decided to stay at the center out of solidarity with her friends.

“I said, they’re making it; I’ve got to make it, too,” recounted Ms. Hayes, a retired school guidance counselor.

For the next week, Ms. Hayes drank bottled water provided by both Schervier and her children and cleaned herself by warming water with a compact stove in her room.

Meanwhile, experts from a total of four city and state agencies — the city and state Departments of Health (DOH) along with the city’s Department of Environmental Protection and Office of Emergency Management — worked with Schervier’s own staff to hunt down the source of the problem, according to Schervier officials.

Schervier’s CEO Carlos Beato said workers repeatedly analyzed the nine-acre facility’s plumbing. He added that around midnight on Jan. 8, experts deployed a ground-penetrating sonar device to see if there was a leak in the pipes between the center and the street. The results were negative.

“People may perceive this as, why didn’t they just find that earlier?” Mr. Beato said. “Well, everybody was looking. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

On Jan. 9, officials from the state DOH made an unannounced visit to inspect patient safety and did not find any problems, according to Schervier’s spokeswoman Laura Amerman.

Around 2 p.m. on the same day, the center reported that its director of facilities management had discovered the problem: a faulty gauge on the center’s water pump saying the pump was operating properly when it was in fact off.

Ms. Amerman said after the pump’s manufacturer informed the director of facilities management how to reactivate the device, Schervier staff turned on pipes in bathrooms and other areas on a room-by-room basis. The spokeswoman said Schervier lifted the water emergency around 5 p.m. on Jan. 10, once water was fully restored.

Ms. Hayes said she was elated and that a friend ran to her “like a child with a new toy.” “Everybody was happy,” she said. “We were dancing. Everybody was so glad.”

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This article is an example of inadvertent investigative journalism. Thanks to the innocence and honesty of Ms Hayes and Mr Shahrigian the current residents of Schervier Nursing Home will be safer by tomorrow afternoon. Early tomorrow morning there is going to be a room by room sweep looking for and confiscating hotplates, heating pads, "tea kettles," electric shavers, crockpots and the like before the local offices of Department of Health open. After which the residents of Schervier can thank Ms Hayes and Mr Shahrigian for complying with the laws of New York State designed to reduce fire hazard in nursing homes. After that an emergency meeting will be held with the nursing staff to remind them of what are called "the regs" for electrical devices. Next, a memo posted in private staff areas. Someone from the administration (new Director of Nursing) will go floor to floor after they drag out the policy manual about the procedure for residents to have electrical devices in their rooms (home). Its not likely that the Department of Health reads the Riverdale Press every morning, but they are a key word on this online article. Again thanks to both Ms Hayes and Mr Shahrigian for making the residents safer.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It may be true that Bon Secours New York or Francis Schervier owns "nine acres" of property surrounding what is the nursing home where my father lives, but did Carlos Beato actually say that it took so long to find the problem because he had workers searching for the needle in a haystack because he directed them to searching 9 acres of property? This article implies, whether based on the reporter's search of property records or Carlos Beato's brag of the scope of the haystack, that acres of property is somehow related to linear feet of pipe. Anyone who owns property knows that your pipes begin where the municipality's pipes end. Hopefully Schervier did not spend 6 days ultrasounding the 43,560 square feet of property. Or maybe we should take this article at face value and they did.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

On behalf of the Friends of Schervier I was asked to make a comment here to request additional clarity on fire safety at Schervier.

This article was read late last night and a private facebook message conference held. During the 7 days that Schervier had no running water several family members independently asked members of the administration to address fire safety and we are not satisfied because of inconsistency and implausibility of the answers such as, "There is a 7000 gallon tank of water on the roof." Andrea Weaver, the Excellence Coordinator, personally told me "the fire sprinkler system is separate from the rest of the water supply and has been tested." I did have to ask, "and is it working?"

We now know that a fire prevention is not being done because an electrical device was confiscated on 1/16 because Schervier found out about the electrical device capable of heating water and causing "burns" because of this article as opposed to because of compliance with NYS nursing home regulations. Fire safety is multifaceted starting with risk reduction which clearly was not being done.

We have no reason to doubt that in case of a large fire the FDNY would be able to use street hydrants, but it is not clear that during the time the water was not running a small fire could have been contained.We are not certain at all that the fire sprinkler system is independent of water pressure in the risers. We have no idea how 7000 gallons of water in a gravity system would contribute in case of fire or why this was offered as assurance, nor is there actually a tank on the roof of the nursing home. Schervier regularly conducts fire alarm testing which consists of automatic containment doors closing and the residents being shuttled in to the day rooms on each side of the hallway, We have no confidence that the staff are prepared for evacuation.

The Friends of Schervier is requesting to have both the Department of Health and the FDNY certify that Schervier is following all state and city fire safety laws and that leadership can speak to facts on their own policy and operations.

We have no confidence in the information released by the administration and we wonder why the Board of Directors does.

Friday, January 17, 2014