Hurricane Gustav: Nursing home evacuations run smoothly this time

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Affected areas of the Gulf Coast have been coping with power outages following the hurricane.
Affected areas of the Gulf Coast have been coping with power outages following the hurricane.
In stark contrast to three years ago, when the elderly, and nursing home residents in particular, were especially hard hit by Hurricane Katrina, authorities were reporting smooth evacuation processes took thousands of elderly out of harm's way.

Officials reported three deaths related to "healthcare facility" evacuations but did not specify where they occurred. None of the three were believed to have perished due to rain, wind or other storm effects from Gustav.

Dozens of nursing homes didn't evacuate before Katrina hit three years ago, and about 70 facility residents died, according to various reports. Dozens of others died during evacuations or from after effects of the storm, officials reported. Nursing home officials said new state regulations requiring facilities to have transportation contracts and alternative housing sites, as well as better record-transfer policies, eased preparations for Gustav.

Top Louisiana officials on Tuesday were urging citizens to remain out of the city until at least later this week. Utility company crews were first expected to start restoring power outages, followed by the return of other workers and business personnel. Nursing homes began evacuating residents by bus and ambulance last Friday.