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After Superstorm Sandy, a Reflection

VNS Westchester President & CEO Elias M. (Lou) Nemnom describes the heroic efforts of staff during and after the storm.
November, 9th 2012 in Industry News & Commentary

Here at VNS Westchester and our affiliate agency, Westchester Care at Home, our hearts go out to all of you in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, one of the worst storms in recent memory. We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy and that you are recovering quickly from its devastating effects.

The health and safety of the nearly 1,400 patients in our care when the Hurricane hit was, and remains, of paramount importance to our agency. With a pre-storm plan in place, we remained open on the day of the storm and every day since, making sure that our patients’ needs were met, especially our many elderly patients who live alone and are particularly vulnerable in such conditions.

I am so proud of the extraordinary efforts our staff made during and after the Hurricane and the subsequent Nor’easter. Despite the challenges of losing power, sustaining damage to their own homes, and contending with gas shortages, our nurses, therapists and home health aides made sure that they got to their patients’ homes, often making multiple calls to find those who had relocated.

Climbing over downed trees and power lines, they brought along armloads of flashlights, batteries, blankets and canned goods. One of our nurses went food shopping for her patient. Another secured her patient’s air-conditioning unit so it would be stable against the howling winds. In at least one case, a nurse arranged to have a patient with multiple chronic conditions sent to a nearby hospital, after he was found home alone in the cold with no power, food or running water. Along with supplies, our team provided much-needed emotional support and companionship to patients and their families.

Building on our culture of compassion, many of our staff also volunteered to help people in Staten Island and other hard-hit areas, collecting donations and making deliveries to those in dire need of help. We applaud our neighbors and colleagues who have participated in these efforts in our community and beyond.

It may take awhile to fully recover from the storm, but we can all be proud of the strength and compassion shown by so many during difficult times. During good times or bad, our agency is committed to ensuring your health and well-being. We hope you will call on us if we can help you, your loved ones or your neighbors stay healthy at home. 

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