Luling Living Center’s plans to keep residents safe in a storm

Luling Living Center held a hurricane evacuation meeting for patient family members Tuesday, June 19 at 6:45 p.m. to discuss the center’s plans for the 2007 hurricane season.

The meeting informed  families  when, where and how the hospital will evacuate in the event of a major storm.

“The year Hurricane Katrina hit we successfully evacuated 74 patients,” Michael Guillera, administrator for the center, told the Herald-Guide.

“We have 84 patients in the facility now,” he continued.
“We took all of our patients to Gonzales, however, we will go to Tyler Town, Mississippi if a hurricane threatens us at the second location.”

Transportation is provided by St. Charles Parish.
“We work closely with the Emergency Operations Center and the send buses to us equipped with wheelchair lifts to evacuate our patients,” Guillera said.

“We are fortunate to be living in St. Charles Parish,” he said.

“They help us evacuate successfully without any problems.”
Guillera said the St. Charles Parish Hospital takes the critical nursing home patients.

“The patients that we feel are too weak to withstand an evacuation are transported to the hospital by ambulance, along with a support person,” he said.

“We are only allowed to use their holding area as a shelter for these patients, but not their hospital staff.”
Nursing home workers are considered essential personnel and must not leave the parish despite a mandatory evacuation.

“We do allow our staff members to bring their families with them to the center” Guillera said.

“However, they have to use their own form of transportation,” he continued.

“The owner of the facility we evacuate to in Gonzales purchased two houses near the nursing home, this year for our family members and employees to be housed if we have to evacuate.”

If the center is forced to go to Tyler Town, the accommodations will be less comfortable.

“We will be evacuated to a local church in the area and we will use mattresses that travel with us for the patients’ bed, and place them on the floor, for the patients to sleep on,” Guillera said.

“We will do our best to make the situation for the patient as comfortable as possible,” he continued.
“The most important thing is getting everyone out the parish into a safe area.”

Guillera said that hospital takes all essential equipment including wheelchairs.

“We try to evacuate within a two hour driving distance just in case we have to come back,” he said.

“During Katrina, we forgot to bring the wheelchairs, now we rent a truck and the wheel chairs, mattresses, and any other essential medical equipment travels with us.”

Guillera give family members an option to take the patients with them if they don’t want to allow them to evacuate with the center.

We do notify the patient’s families and give them an option of coming to get them to evacuate with them.”


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