Healthcare facilities keep patients safe during storm

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 20, 2004

Both Dan Perryman and Cindy Hall attribute preparedness and cooperative staffs to their success during Hurricane Ivan.

Perryman, administrator for L. V. Stable Memorial Hospital, and Hall, administrator of Crowne HealthCare center, both said that doubling up and having a staff willing to work was very beneficial.

&uot;We doubled up on food and ordered some extra diesel fuel for our generators,&uot; Perryman said.

&uot;We ordered double food, linens, disposable things that our residents would need.&uot;

But beyond that, both facilities had different approaches to patient care.

At Crowne, the patients that could be moved were moved into the hallway and the others were moved away from the windows.

&uot;We couldn’t bring everyone into the hallway,&uot; Hall said. &uot;We have 118 residents and those that couldn’t be moved we closed blinds and drapes.&uot;

At Stabler, the patients remained in their rooms, but the windows were covered with blinds and curtains to minimize the flight of debris and glass.

&uot;We boarded up the front windows and boarded up windows near residents’ rooms,&uot; Perryman said. &uot;We ran out of plywood. We special ordered some plywood and used all of it.&uot;

The one thing that these two healthcare facilities had in common during preparations for Ivan, was that they provided facilities for their staff to stay and work.

&uot;We had our normal 10-2 shift come in and work, on Wednesday,&uot; Hall said. &uot;After that we had our 2-10 shift and then we had our 6-2 shift working. But by Thursday we had staff from all three shifts working. Some hadn’t even been home to be with their families.&uot;

At Stabler, Perryman gave his staff the option to bring their families with them.

&uot;We had our staff come in Wednesday at 6 and they brought their families so they could be together,&uot; Perryman said. &uot;We boarded up the windows in any areas where we thought that kids and families may be.&uot;

Through their preparedness, neither facility lost a patient.

&uot;We had one cardiac patient come in Wednesday night,&uot; Perryman said. &uot;But, the bulk of people are coming in today [Friday].&uot;

Hall didn’t have to worry about patients walking in off the street, but she did extend an invitation to some out of town guests.

&uot;We took a lady from her home in Mobile,&uot; Hall said. &uot;Her family needed a place for her to stay. We also took someone from Gulf Shores and a hospice patient from Brewton. These people will be staying with us until it is safe to go home to their facilities.

Thursday morning, but facilities had staffs that were trying to get to work.

&uot;We have one of our employees that lives in Georgiana and catches a ride to work each morning,&uot; Hall said. &uot;But, Thursday morning, they couldn’t get a ride so they were going to hitchhike into work. Luckily one of our staff saw them and gave them a lift into work.&uot;

Both facilities were waiting for their power to be turned back on.

&uot;We are working off a generator right now,&uot; said Hall. &uot;So we don’t have air conditioning, but we are supposed to get our power turned back on sometime today [Thursday].&uot;

Stabler is also operating off a generator.

Perryman said that on a full tank of diesel, a generator can run the hospital for four days.

&uot;But, that is barebones operations though,&uot; he said. &uot;Right now we have no air conditioning and besides comfort it’s beginning to be a problem. We have some machines in the lab that have to be kept at a certain temperature, if they get above that they turn off, that’s a problem we are running into. Another problem is that the operating room needs to be kept at a certain temperature as well.&uot;

Both facilities expected to have their power turned on Friday.