Nursing home evacuations kept residents safe from Hurricane Irene

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Mandatory nursing home evacuations helped states avert tragedy as Hurricane Irene made its way up the East Coast over the weekend, officials said.

In anticipation of high winds and flash flooding, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the evacuation of nursing homes and hospitals in the city's low-lying boroughs. About 5,000 nursing home residents were evacuated from the New York City area, along with residents in nine facilities in New Jersey, according to LeadingAge. Resident evacuated Friday through Saturday nights are being transferred back to long-term care facilities in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut this week, according to published reports.

Overall, the plans for assisting those in long-term care were in marked contrast to the disasters that befell nursing home residents during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

But the evacuations weren't without hiccups. Doctors and nurses who took care of evacuated nursing home, rehab and hospice patients in a Brooklyn hospital reported problems with delayed medications, tests and other procedures, The New York Times reported.

Officials in Connecticut and New York's Long Island lifted evacuation orders on nursing homes and hospitals Monday. Several nursing homes and hospitals in Connecticut, however, are still experiencing power outages and are running on backup generators, according to The Wall Street Journal. Officials say outages could last up to a week, even as electrical crews from as far west as Colorado are being deployed to restore power.

Click here and here for more Hurricane Irene-related resources from LeadingAge.