NEWTOWN – Earlier this week, State Representatives J.P. Sredzinski (R-112), Mitch Bolinsky (R-106) and Raghib Allie-Brennan (D-2) met with Newtown Rehabilitation & Health Care Center Administrator Joel Carmichael, and residents, to discuss how state government can help improve the experience for long-term care residents. Many of the residents’ and healthcare providers’ concerns focused on facility staffing levels, provisions of enhanced training for caregivers, and the development of a statewide network of volunteers to augment companionship as well as the social-emotional needs of residents.
“The best part of this meeting was getting to know, face-to-face, the individuals who are directly impacted by the human-services related budget decisions made in Hartford,” said Rep. Sredzinski, member of the Legislature’s Human Services Committee. “I thank Joel and the residents who met with us for speaking openly about the service gaps they are experiencing due to underfunding and understaffing. I hope that they will continue to reach out to us in the future with their concerns so that we may advocate for their needs in the next legislative session.”
Rep. Bolinsky, a member of the legislature’s Aging Committee and the budget-writing Appropriations Committee said, “It was a pleasure to meet with Joel, his staff and some very engaged residents to discuss their priorities. I know there is always a need for greater Medicaid funding to enhance care in long-term centers like this one. I also know the state has actually reduced funding a couple of times in the past few years so, I am grateful that the 2020-2021 budget holds the line, maintaining existing reimbursement levels.”
“As a caregiver to my father and my late father-in-law, I am very aware of the need for folks who are aging-in-place or residents of long-term care facilities to have responsive, attentive caregivers available to answer the call when help is needed. I loved the residents’ idea of deploying a volunteer corps of sorts to keep residents active and engaged to the best of their abilities. A bunch of us legislators tried to launch a program like that in the last session, but it never made it out of committee. I promised to restart this initiative in the 2020 session because I know there are lots of kind folks among us who’d love to volunteer, if given the chance. When I visit my dad, I am saddened by the number of his fellow residents who don’t seem to have anyone to visit them. Then, I think about the volunteers in most hospitals who go room to room with smiles, magazines and paperbacks – We can do this!”
Rep. Allie-Brennan said, “Thank you to the administrators, staff and residents of the Newtown Rehabilitation & Health Care Center for welcoming us to their facility. I learned a lot about their needs and the ways in which we in the Legislature can support this important institution. Residents and staff spoke about the importance of ensuring proper funding for the facility and maintaining appropriate staffing levels. While certainly not perfect, the budget we recently passed protects Medicaid funding, a critical source of support for this facility. I also supported legislation to raise the minimum wage which will help them retain better staff. I look forward to an ongoing dialogue with them and encourage my other colleagues in our state and federal delegations to visit.”
The Newtown Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, located on Toddy Hill Road, provides a full spectrum of senior housing and healthcare options to the region, including home health care, assisted living and memory care assisted living within The Commons, and post-hospital rehabilitative care, dementia care services, and traditional skilled, long-term nursing care at Newtown Rehabilitation & Health Care Center. For more information, visit their website at https://newtownrehabcenter.com/ or call 203-426-5847.