It could be months before New York and New Jersey long-term care facilities and their residents fully recover from the double whammy of Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent nor’easter winter storm in early November.
At its peak, Sandy left more than 8.5 million private residences and businesses without power along the East Coast. The powerful storms made thousands of people and hundreds of nursing home residents homeless, including more than 600 from three nursing homes and an adult care center in the Rockaways, a peninsula of Long Island. The Rockaways residents were evacuated as a precaution in advance of the nor’easter, which brought several inches of snow and 60 mph winds, because they already were running on generators. In addition, first responders were already stretched too thin to respond, officials told CBS News.
Even residents in some New York nursing homes who were unscathed by the powerful storm were evacuated to free up beds for critically injured nursing home residents from storm-ravaged areas. Eight major facilities, including a Brooklyn high school, reportedly became temporary shelters for hundreds of nursing home evacuees from Coney Island, the Rockaways and other New York boroughs. One Bronx nursing home worker told Press Publications nearly 1,000 geriatric patients displaced from evacuations of three city hospitals inundated area nursing homes, which were forced to vacate beds for the critically ill. The worker said she drove to area pharmacies to round up meds for the residents.
Relief was swift, however. FEMA said nearly 100,000 people were eligible for emergency housing assistance in New York and New Jersey, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued blanket waivers to New York and New Jersey facilities for bed increases and certain data transmission rules.