One of the most powerful hurricanes in recorded history was on track to plow through Florida, the state with the highest percentage of senior citizens in the nation. The imminent threat left many nursing homes with no choice but to prepare for the worst. Extensive plans were enacted to provide adequate supplies of medicine, dietary routines, and power for essential devices such as oxygen machines. The uncertainty of the storm’s path, combined with its growing strength, created a large concern for families of elderly residents of long term care facilities across the state.
Thanks to effective planning, many nursing homes were well prepared for the storm’s impact, going above and beyond to make sure normal operations were maintained. One such facility, Florida Health Care Association member Moultrie Creek Nursing & Rehab Center in St. Augustine, demonstrated tremendous foresight across all operations, from administrative to cleaning and culinary services.
As the daughter of a Moultrie Creek resident, Leah Beecher says she and her family were extremely grateful for the way staff members worked around the clock, even bringing in their own family members so they could be together while continuing to meet the needs of the center’s residents.
Leah’s family thought long and hard about what would be best for her mother, Beverly Griner before the storm was set to impact their area of the state. They concluded that having Ms. Griner remain at Moultrie Creek was the safest option because of the facility’s proximity to a hospital in case of emergency. They were certain they would not be able to give her the proper care needed at home, especially in the extreme conditions of the hurricane, and felt reassured knowing that all her needs would be met at Moultrie Creek.
“I never really worried about the safety and security of my mother,” Leah recalls, “I was primarily focused on maintaining communication with her, and once I realized we had a handle on that I was able to see the intense preparations being made by everyone at the facility.” Leah was able to speak with Jason Davis, an administrator at Moultrie Creek who walked her through the plans in case of power loss and reassured her that the team was prepared for whatever Irma would bring their way.
Despite losing power for multiple days, Moultrie Creek used portable air conditioning units to make it possible for residents to function with little or no disruption to their daily routines.
“Hurricane horror stories are out there, but the facilities that handle everything correctly really deserve praise,” said Leah. “They don’t deserve to be grouped in with one south Florida facility that didn’t care about the safety and comfort of their residents.”