Ravaged by COVID-19, Andover Nursing Home Overwhelmed by Deaths
17 Bodies Found at New Jersey Nursing Home

A recent New York Times article stated it was an anonymous tip that brought police to the Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center I and II in Andover, N.J., on April 13: a body had reportedly been placed in a shed outside the home. By the time of the police’s arrival, this body had been relocated; however, inside the home’s diminutive morgue—meant to hold no more than four bodies in advance of their removal to a funeral home—police found the bodies of 17 residents.

Andover Subacute and Rehabilitation Center, a long-term care facility comprised of two buildings and among the largest nursing homes in New Jersey, recently suffered the death of 68 people, including the 17. Of these 68 deaths, which also included two nurses, 26 were definitively linked to the coronavirus, with the remainder from unknown causes.

New Jersey has been hard hit with the illness, which, as evidenced by the outbreak in a Seattle Area nursing home, can spread like wildfire among the extremely vulnerable patients within the walls of nursing homes. The Times reported that, as of April 15, over 6,800 residents of New Jersey nursing homes have been infected. A New Jersey Herald article claims that, once the virus found its way into the Andover facility, complaints of understaffing, a lack of PPE, and poor infection control as well as a breakdown in communications among administration, staff, and family members regarding who was infected with—or even who might have died from—COVID-19, prompted investigations into the home that eventually led to the discovery and removal of the 17 bodies, 13 of them to a refrigerated truck outside the nearby Newton Medical Center, and the remainder to a funeral home.

Of those residents remaining within the facility, 76 have tested positive for COVID-19. Considering the potential for rapid spread of the virus to others within the 700-bed nursing home, panicked family members are clamoring for answers and action. According to the Times, the state Department of Health sent two shipments of 4,600 masks (including 1,400 N95 masks) and 10,000 gloves to the facility, which claims it is isolating sick residents on separate floors or in separate wings. Meanwhile, 41 staff members have contracted COVID-19, including one of the home’s administrators.

The Times claims that issues with staffing, patient care, and inspections within this nursing home existed even prior to the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in a “much below average” rating from Medicare.

Determining the Safety of Your Loved One’s Nursing Home

In these critical times, it’s crucial to ensure that your loved one’s Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home meets every criterion in matters of hygiene as well as all other qualifications for safety. If you’re concerned about the quality of a Philadelphia/PA or NJ facility or you suspect neglect or abuse has occurred at the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.