Tornado-stricken community calls for nursing home 'safe rooms'
Two months after a tornado demolished Greenbriar Nursing Home in Joplin, MO, — and much of everything else around it — members of the community have called for the inclusion of storm shelters in nursing homes in tornado-prone areas.
Immediately following the May 22 tornado, the death toll at Greenbriar was reported to be 11. That number has since risen to 16, which includes people who were wounded by the storm and later died due to the injuries, according to The Joplin Globe. In a staff-written op-ed published in the paper, members of the paper's editorial board contend that the destruction of the nursing home and a nearby hospital should be a wake-up call to the healthcare industry.
While noting that Greenbriar staff executed its protocol for tornado response — which involves moving residents out of their rooms and into a central, window-free hallway — it also mentions the death of a quadriplegic resident who was outdoors when the storm hit. One staff member was found holding two elderly residents in his arms, all three of them dead, the staff wrote.
“In the wake of this deadly storm, we believe safe rooms should become standard in nursing homes built in tornado-prone areas,” the editors wrote. “We can only imagine the heroics at the Greenbriar on the night the EF-5 tornado as caregivers there looked for some place where they could move residents to safety.”