Assisted-living facilities urged to evacuate coast

Assisted-living facilities urged to evacuate coast

(WCSC) - Senior and assisted-living centers around the Lowcountry have been ordered by the Governor Henry McMaster to evacuate the coastlines of South Carolina.

Many may recall this captivating picture of a flooded nursing home after Hurricane Harvey that left dozens of elderly stranded in the water. The governor is trying to avoid a repeat of that situation in the Palmetto state. Health care and assisted living-facilities should already be working to evacuate the coasts most vulnerable residents. The governor made the call at 2:00 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

For some people, evacuating is a more difficult process.

Care for Life started the process Tuesday.

"When you're dealing with an elderly person, often times they're in much more fragile health and have special needs," vice president of Care for Life Sheena Janse said. "We started earlier this week asking our clients what their plans and needs were. We identified the clients that need our help in evacuations."

That includes making plans for transportation, shelter, staffing, and an appropriate supply of medication and necessary personal equipment.

Janse says emergency shelters are an option but are not ideal for anyone.

"Particularly for an elderly person," Janse said. "There would be a lot of confusion, not much privacy, especially with the need for personal care."

The Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) requires all assisted-living facilities to have an approved disaster plan.

"The facilities are well-prepared," Janse explained. "That's a requirement with DHEC. Those disaster plans need to be supplied to DHEC for an annual review."

Care for Life will be evacuating to hotels in Orangeburg and Columbia.