Valley woman loses mother in group home to COVID-19, wants more accountability

Posted at 9:33 PM, Feb 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 00:32:22-05

AVONDALE, AZ — A Valley woman lost her mother to COVID-19 inside a residential group home in Avondale, and is calling for more accountability for in-home care for senior citizens.

Miriam Pandone, 94, died last week from COVID-19 at a Banner hospital after her daughter says she went undiagnosed at her group home.

Lisa Pandone-Benson has been following COVID-19 closely, and has worked to raise awareness on social media through a Facebook page she started on the response in Arizona.

Pandone-Benson said she made the decision to find a caretaker for her mother after she got sick, and need full-time care.

However, she didn’t know her mom got sick with COVID-19 in the group home until after she learned that another resident died of the deadly virus a day prior.

“I failed mama so terribly because she got COVID in a place that I just thought was taking all the precautions,” she said.

Pandone-Benson calls the laws, regulations and oversight in this sector weak, “I just cry every night saying ‘mama I’m so sorry.’”

“I thought she was going to be safer and more taken care of by people who have that caretaker experience,” said Pandone-Benson.

Pandone-Benson didn’t want to name the facility at this time, but wants to raise concerns about the lack of transparency from these group home settings, “it's an under-regulated and under enforced sector, and so if I can do anything in my mother’s name, there will be a charity in my mother’s name, and we will advocate, we will educate and we will lobby for change in this sector.”

Pandone-Benson said she also learned that the home was not routine testing of residents, and staff who interacted with those living there.