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CONTACT: Gina Irwin
Manager of Community Relations
CHS Continuing Care
(631) 465-6433

September 1, 2011   

The tale of three homes and the storm that could!

The setting is Long Island, New York, and Hurricane Irene is on the way.   The three nursing and rehabilitation facilities of Catholic Health Services - St Catherine of Siena Nursing & Rehabilitation Care Center in Smithtown, Good Samaritan Nursing Home in Sayville and Our Lady of Consolation Nursing & Rehabilitative Care Center in West Islip, hope for the best but begin preparing for the worst. 

Jennifer Reyes, Occupational Therapist, Arlene Daly, ResidentOur Lady of Consolation is a 450 bed facility located in West Islip had begun to prepare for the storm by ensuring there was adequate emergency fuel for the generator, medicine, food and water to last 7days.  In consultation with the Town of Islip Office of Emergency Management a decision was made to “Shelter in Place”, exempting the facility from the town’s mandatory evacuation order.  The ability to be able to move the residents of the facility to the second floor with little to no interruption in their care and comfort was a large factor in the decision to “Shelter in Place”.  Once this decision was made, a plan was made to bring an additional backup generator on site to supplement the two already in place, to ensure the facility could function well during a prolonged service interruption after the storm.  A team from Axis Construction, located this generator and had it delivered, and also ensured it was installed quickly and properly wired for a quick connection should the need arise.  This was not an easy task but the team from Axis Construction made it look easy and seamless. Jim Ryan, Sr. Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Our Lady of Consolation stated, “the process of sheltering in place could not have been achieved without the extraordinary team work and support”. All staff at the nursing home, from management to line staff, in one way or another went above and beyond the call of duty whether it was transporting residents and beds to a new unit or answering phone calls from concerned family members.  “We did it together as one”, Mr. Ryan continued, “I can’t thank and praise them enough.”  Pat Trost, President of the Family Council, whose father is a resident at Our Lady of Consolation, believed the key to the successful outcome of this weekend was the teamwork and tremendous planning by the staff.  She stated “my father was happy he did not have to leave the facility because it was much less disruptive to his care.”

Good Samaritan Nursing Home, a 100 bed facility located in Sayville, is in the middle of a residential neighborhood less than a block from the Great South Bay. Because this facility is only one story, without a second floor to move to in the event of flooding, a decision was made to evacuate.  Administrator, Teriann Cronin, steadfastly worked in anticipation of this evacuation.  Staff packed clothing and called all the families to prepare them in case there was a need for evacuation.  Mrs. Cronin had made preliminary phone calls to other nursing homes to see if the would shelter her residents throughout the storm.  What she was encountered was amazing fellowship.  Six other nursing homes stood ready and willing to accept her residents (St. Catherine of Siena Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center, Long Island State Veterans Home, Island Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Nesconset Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, Hilaire Rehab and Nursing Center, and Affinity Skilled Living and Rehabilitation Center). Transportation was arranged with Care and Comfort Ambulance who responded that they would have their fleet of ambulances available to them to transport all residents to other nursing homes until the job was done.  All that was left was a call to evacuate!  When the path of Hurricane Irene was confirmed to hit this area of Long Island the evacuation was initiated.  The fleet of vans, buses and ambulettes arrived from Care and Comfort and the transportation of all 97 residents was accomplished in just four hours.  All residents have now returned home to Good Samaritan Nursing Home safe and sound, and a welcome home party is scheduled for Thursday.

St. Catherine of Siena Nursing and Rehabilitation Care Center is a 240 bed facility located on the grounds of St. Catherine’s Medical Center in Smithtown.  Michael Quartararo, Administrator of the nursing home, prepared the staff, residents and facility for the impact of the storm with fuel, food and extra supplies.  Preparations were made for the placement of residents seeking safe shelter from other facilities.  The staff of St. Catherine’s accepted 27 residents from Good Samaritan Nursing Home late Friday evening and cared for them until Monday afternoon, when safe transport could be arranged for them back to their nursing home.   Mr. Quartararo stated “the nursing and support staff at St. Catherine’s should be commended for going above and beyond to accept the transferred residents from Good Samaritan Nursing Home, safely and quickly, and for the continuous team work between the two facilities ensuring that quality healthcare delivery was maintained through out the hurricane weekend.”    Mary Royal a resident of Good Samaritan Nursing Home that sheltered at St. Catherine’s stated “I was very satisfied during my short stay at St. Catherine’s and felt very safe after being evacuated from the facility I reside in.  Everyone was very accommodating; the Administrator came in to greet and speak to us on several occasions.  The nurses were lovely and the recreation staff brought us books, magazines and cards.  The meals were cooked well; all the meals were steaming hot and tasty.  The nursing staff from Good Samaritan Nursing Home that came over to assist did a phenomenal job over there, too.  They even took a group photo of us before we left; that was a nice touch.”

Hurricane Irene has come and gone and left an indelible mark on Long Island.  The residents of these three nursing facilities were cared for throughout the storm through the concerted efforts of some highly dedicated staff.  Joseph Tomaino, Executive Vice President for the Continuing Care Division of Catholic Health Services, which oversees these three nursing homes stated, “The dedication of staff and administration of these three facilities is astounding; I want to extend my gratitude to them, as well the other nursing homes that opened their doors for our residents to provide safe shelter in a time of need.” 
Founded in 1997, Catholic Health Services of Long Island is an integrated healthcare delivery system that includes some of the region’s finest health and human service agencies. It is comprised of five hospitals, three nursing homes, a regional home care and hospice network, and a community-based agency for people with special needs. More than 15,200 staff and 2,700 medical professionals work within the system.

Photo Caption: Jennifer Reyes, Occupational Therapist, Arlene Daly, Resident