West Nursing home resident deaths quickened by stress - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

West Nursing home resident deaths quickened by stress

WACO, TX (KXXV) -

West Rest Haven Nursing Home residents are dealing with a lot of stress and that's causing some to have an early death.

More than 100 residents are displaced all across Central Texas. They've gone to multiple nursing homes or gone to live with their families. For many, that change in routine and who takes care of them is not easy to handle.

A list sent out by the nursing home on June 6, says 10 people have died since the April 17 explosion. Three more people passed away the next day making it 13 in less than two months.

"Of course at that age and being frail is that some people expire, but the added stress certainly may hasten their death," doctor for the West Rest Haven Nursing Home George Smith said. "Any stress you add to the body makes the physical condition worse."

Smith says even the change in the little things can cause problems. That includes what food is served, when they wake up in the morning and who takes care of them. That's why the Quality Care of Waco Nursing home is working to make things familiar for many who are staying there.

Quality Care now has close to 20 West residents and expect to have 60 in the near future. They've also hired around 10 nurses from West Rest Haven to give familiar faces.

"We know how they are taken care of, and we continue to take care of them, the same way we take care of them in West," nurse Mary Berger said.

Quality remodeled an entire wing to take them all in. They're also working to clear out another wing to bring more in. Smith and the employees say this is a great idea.

"They haven't seen each other in a while, it's like they all get together and like, 'I know you, I remember you.' And then they start to talk about the explosion," Berger said. "

Berger and Kim Stewart, an assistant nurse, took care of some of those who have passed at Rest Haven.

"Just from them being already going down getting moved probably made them more stressful and then getting into another nursing home where they don't know anybody, that's probably what did it to them," Stewart said.

So that's why they want to make Quality Care a home away from home. Berger says many of them like to hang out together in the common room.

"It's like having kolaches and coffee at the bakery," Berger said.

The West Polka Boys, a group of guitar and accordion players from West, came to play for the nursing home Thursday. One resident even joined in with his accordion. Larry Kubcak says he likes living in the nursing home. He says he even missed some of the employees.

"I just miss them once in a while," Kubcak said.

While this is a home away from home, Kubcak says he wants to go back to West.

"I just want to," Kubcak said. "I have a lot of friends there."

This is something the employees know, and hear everyday.

"They cannot wait, they say it everyday, when can I get back to West? I can't wait to get back there," Berger said.

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