Daughter shares the struggle she faced while her elderly mother was in a care center during COVID-19 pandemic

Carol A Bugdalski-Stutrud wonders what happened to her mother

The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has put a spotlight on some challenges nursing homes face.

DETROIT – The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has put a spotlight on some challenges nursing homes face.

A family is sharing their struggle as an example of how hard it can be to care for an elderly family member in the middle of a pandemic.

When Carol A Bugdalski-Stutrud looks at her mother now, she wonders what happened. Ninety days ago her mother, Irene, was relatively active for a 97-year-old.

READ: Coronavirus death toll at neighboring care facilities in Metro Detroit may be worst in US

When she had a minor fall at her assisted living facility in Warren, a decision was made to send her to rehab for skilled nursing. That was before the state of Michigan shut down because of COVID-19 and what happened next was a series of events Bugdalski-Stutrud calls horror stories.

Like many families, Bugdalski-Stutrud was cut off from her mother -- other than window visits. She couldn’t assess her health, couldn’t see that she was losing weight, not getting meds. Her belief is that her mother became a side effect of overworked and waning staff because of COVID-19.

When Bugdalski-Stutrud moved her mother to a second care center -- the same thing happened.

Before this all began, her mother was 100 pounds. Now, she’s barely 75. She has stopped eating. She is shutting down.

Melissa Samuel is the President and CEO of the Health Care Association of Michigan, the industry associated for care centers and nursing homes.

She believes that while the nursing home and skilled care industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, it’s not fair or reasonable to paint all care centers with the same broad brush.

READ: Michigan considers change to controversial nursing home policy

About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's married and the stepmother of three beautiful and brilliant daughters. Her personal philosophy in life, love and community is, "Do as much as you can possibly do, not as little as you can possibly get away with".

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.