August 3, 2020
September 8, 2020
(Lake Charles, LA) On August 3rd, Hurricane Laura made landfall in Lake Charles, Louisiana, causing devastating structural and electrical damage across the region. Two of the three hospitals in the area were forced to shut down due to lack of water supply and are sending patients via ambulance to other hospitals across the state.
Amidst the chaos, hospice patients who did not or were not able to evacuate found themselves at home without water or electricity, operating necessary durable medical equipment on generator power.
Within hours of the storm’s passing, Heart of Hospice nurse Missy Hataway drove across treacherous and uncertain roadways to check on her patients, bringing them water and any necessary supplies.
Heart of Hospice assembled their Disaster Relief Taskforce, devised a multipart plan, and opened the line of communication between leadership, the Southwest team, and their patients. Within the first few days, the Taskforce assessed and triaged need. With the Southwest office’s structural status unknown, the team made the decision to supply a generator to a backup location to serve as a command center for the hospice and as a place of respite for displaced team members.
Brian Manuel, Administrator for Heart of Hospice—Southwest, shares: “Although our team did what they could to prepare for Hurricane Laura’s landfall—ensuring patients had the medications, supplies, and durable medical equipment they needed, readying their own homes for wind and water damage—ultimately, the community was devastated. No one could have predicted the damage that would be done to the electrical and water systems of Lake Charles.”
While Hataway and other nurses continue to check on patients they can access, patients who evacuated to different parts of Louisiana have been seamlessly transitioned to the care of other Heart of Hospice agencies. Patients who evacuated Heart of Hospice’s service area entirely have been placed in the care of other hospice providers under a travel contract.
Hataway shares: “The scramble done by everyone to obtain travel contracts for patients being scattered to the winds and the help from our sister agencies to care for traumatized patients and their loved ones was simply amazing.”
While the Lake Charles community is far from recovery, hospice patients continue to be admitted daily. Heart of Hospice’s Disaster Relief Taskforce and leadership have placed a call out for volunteers to assist care team members in clearing yards, babysitting kids, and any other needs they have so they can focus on caring for patients and their loved ones.
Manuel adds: “I am incredibly grateful for our company and each of our team members. I feel lucky to work for an employer who continues to far exceed expectations in order to care for its people.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for Heart of Hospice can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Heart of Hospice
Our vision is to transform end-of-life care in the communities we serve. We currently provide care to 16 regions across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. We believe all hospice-eligible patients and those who love them deserve the best care at the end of life. Our mission is simple: to serve all patients and their loved ones the way they desire to be served.