Honoring September’s Heroes during National Home Care Month in November
This past September "preparedness month" home care providers and staff put their preparedness and response plans to test as Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee battered much of Eastern New York in two consecutive sweeps.
Providers continue to send HCA amazing stories about their efforts assisting in evacuation orders, staffing emergency shelters, ensuring that vulnerable patients were safe and had supplies in their homes, and coping with unimaginable losses to their operations and to the homes and personal belongings of patients and staff.
Many of these stories were detailed in the September 2 edition of HCA’s ASAP newsletter, which provided a look at the damage sustained by HCR Home Care’s offices in Schoharie County one of the hardest hit areas of New York and the work of HCR staff in delivering vital supplies to local emergency shelters, via National Guard Black Hawk helicopter in one instance.
We also told stories about exceptional caregivers like Steve Schlamowitz, an LPN at Visiting Nurse Service of Schenectady and Saratoga Counties, and Morna Harvey, a Home Health Aide at Home Assistance Personnel, who went the extra mile to serve the community in Mr. Schlamowitz’s case, by helping to evacuate neighbors on flood-ravaged roads and, in Ms. Harvey’s case, by rescuing a dementia patient who needed emergency hospital care during the storm.
HCA has heard even more stories from members, like MJHS whose over 100 employees at two oceanfront centers for rehabilitation and nursing care ran 24-to-36-hour-long shifts safely and securely transferring 655 patients prior to the storm. Meanwhile, hundreds of MJHS Home Care, Hospice and Palliative Care employees called on, visited, transferred and in some cases stayed overnight with patients.
In one instance, a Manhattan-based MJHS home care nurse brought batteries and water to an oxygen-dependent patient who refused to leave home. Another, on her day off, tended to the wound of a patient in Far Rockaway whose caregiver panicked after a tree fell on his house. One other patient refused to leave her cat, saying they would ride the waters together. Like countless others across the city, the home health aide stayed with her patient.
For many providers and patients, the damage is lasting. Weeks after the storm, providers in the southern tier reported that several patients remained displaced (some located with families, some in facilities), while many employees are still working to pick up the pieces of damaged homes and properties.
Saluting the heroes of September’s storms during National Home Care Month in November
Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee brought to light the great heroism of New York’s home care community. This November provides us with yet another opportunity to recognize the response efforts of New York’s home care community: during National Home Care Month.
Caregivers do amazing work every single day to keep patients out of the hospital, ensure the safety of patients in the home, teach patients about managing their care needs, promote medication compliance and aid compassionately in the process of healing.
Each of these qualities, which define the very practice of home care, becomes even more exceptional in the event of a disaster response environment where the unique role and skills of caregivers are put to the test. This November, HCA is proud to salute September's home care heroes for their work serving the community in a time of need.
Steve Schlamowitz (top photo), an LPN at Visiting Nurse Service of Schenctady and Saratoga Counties, who is also a Volunteer fireman, rescued neighbors using a pontoon boat (second photo from top).
HCR Home Care RN Vivian Thurber (third photo from top) travels by Black Hawk helicopter to bring vital supplies to an emergency shelter after floods blocked automotive passage.
During Hurricane Irene, Home Health Aide Morna Harvey (bottom photo), of Home Assistance Personnel, helped rescue a patient suffering from dementia who had been injured.
Read more about these heroic home care staff in the September 2 edition of HCA’s ASAP newsletter.
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