National Guard departs Alice Center

MALONE — A four-person National Guard team has wrapped up its time providing non-direct care services at The Alice Center.

After helping at the Malone clinic from February through May as part of the state’s push to bolster staffing at long-term care facilities during the omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of National Guard troops departed The Alice Center on Tuesday, according to a statement from Phillip Rau, a spokesperson for the Malone hospital.

The National Guard team at The Alice Center assisted with welcoming and screening visitors, dietary work, administrative tasks, and assisting the facility’s activities team, according to Susan Biondolillo, the hospital’s assistant vice president of long-term care.

“Like facilities across New York and the country, we are incredibly grateful for the support of our National Guard partners,” Biondolillo said. “Not only have they been kind, courteous and compassionate throughout their time with us, they provided us with support at a time when staffing shortages and an unpredictable COVID variant were combining to create challenges for every member of our long-term care team.”

In late 2021, Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul deployed 60 National Guard medical teams to long-term care facilities across the state, to provide clinical services to facilities struggling amid a nationwide health care staffing crisis.

“Having them here has been great,” said Valerie Lester, director of nursing at The Alice Center. “They’ve done everything from scrub pots and fill water pitchers to interact with our residents and welcome friends and family who have come for a visit. It’s been nice to have them, and we hope they know just how thankful we are for the support they’ve given our staff, and the kindness they show everyone each day.”

In January, the state deployed additional, non-medically trained teams, in an expansion of the federally funded initiative, which was set to expire in March but was extended to the end of May.

Biondolillo said that, as the partnership concludes, the National Guard team’s departure from Malone will not impact operations or programs at The Alice Center.

“Our employees will continue to do what they do best — deliver great, compassionate care to our residents, and work together as we continue to adapt to what continues to be an unpredictable public health emergency,” Biondolillo said.

After three months of helping with non-direct care services at The Alice Center as part of the state’s push to bolster staffing at long-term care facilities during the omicron wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, a team of National Guard troops departed The Alice Center on Tuesday. Malone Telegram

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