Louisiana has now experienced five significant hurricanes in the past seven years. Hurricane Isaac, significant because of its agonizingly slow forward movement, actually made landfall twice in Louisiana, dumping high amounts of rainfall and causing flooding in low-lying areas.
Each hurricane is distinct, and it is impossible to foresee every eventuality; however, when it comes to lessons learned, the nursing facility profession implemented strong, well-defined emergency preparedness plans, maximized the assistance provided by state agencies, and met Hurricane Isaac with coordinated precision.
The vast majority of nursing facilities purchased large emergency generators ahead of time, allowing all but a few to shelter in place.
Those that did evacuate did so with relative ease, thanks to the assistance of Gov. Bobby Jindal and his staff, the National Guard and the officials of the Department of Health and Hospitals.
When a decision to evacuate or shelter in place had to be made because of changing conditions, the team at the state Emergency Operations Center met to discuss options and, once a strategy was developed, acted decisively and without hesitation.
We at the Louisiana Nursing Home Association and the staff and residents in our nursing facilities are grateful to Gov. Jindal and to the leadership at DHH and GOHSEP.
Gov. Jindal’s leadership has resulted in a responsive and effective operation at the state EOC. His sincere desire to understand the needs of nursing facility residents and his willingness to provide us the resources we need to comfort them and assure the continuation of quality care during emergencies were integral components of our successful operations this hurricane season.
Joseph A. Donchess, executive director
Louisiana Nursing Home Association