HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a push to implement greater protections for nurses and home health care workers after a visiting nurse was killed in Willimantic.
The message Wednesday from Connecticut state lawmakers, health care professionals and advocates at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford was clear: What happened on Oct. 28 should not have happened, and more has to be done to ensure it does not happen again.
Joyce Grayson, 63, was found dead in the basement of a home on Chapman Street, where investigators said she had her first appointment of the day.
Police said Grayson’s family reported to officials that she was accounted for around 2 p.m. Saturday. A police K-9 unit then conducted a track from her car that was found at a nearby business to the house, where her body was found. No one has been charged in connection with Grayson’s death.
“You shouldn’t go to work to die, but that’s exactly what happened to this woman and family,” state Sen. Martha Marx (D-New London) said. “I’ve been yelling a lot about safety and not being listened to.”
Lawmakers and advocates said more protections must be put in place for all home health care workers, including enhanced training, doing initial visits in teams and assessing risk before, during and after appointments.
“We need help. We need protection. We need safety,” said Tracy Wodatch with the Connecticut Association for Health Care at Home.
“Sometimes, you know the risk in advance, and then you get the risk as soon as it’s in the environment,” state Sen. Saud Anward (D-South Windsor) said.
They’re hoping this can be addressed during the upcoming 2024 legislative session.
“Sadly, this is a tragedy that will only continue if we don’t start figuring out that there are people that need to be taken out of society — and put in more secure situations,” Republican House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora said.
The Reardon Law Firm, which represents Grayson’s family, said Grayson was “a beloved mother and grandmother” who “dedicated her life to caring for others.”
Grayson was a foster and adoptive parent for 35 children for nearly 20 years, Connecticut Department of Families Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes said.
“Joyce’s warmth, kindness and compassion will be missed by everyone who knew her, and her legacy will live on in the countless lives of children she touched,” Dorantes said.
Grayson worked at Elara Caring for 15 years. The company issued the following statement:
“Our hearts go out to Joyce’s family and loved ones. The safety and wellbeing of our team members is our highest priority. We are providing counseling services for Elara team members impacted by this tragedy and will be fully cooperating with the authorities as their investigation continues.”
Connecticut State Police are continuing to investigate Grayson’s death.