After Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of disabled and elderly New Yorkers were evacuated from assisted living facilities and nursing homes near the coast. Now, more than two months after the storm hit, some evacuees are still getting by in temporary quarters.
The evacuees were moved to places like Brooklyn’s Bishop Henry B. Hucles Episcopal Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. The center was already operating at capacity before the storm hit and is now packed with more than twice the number of residents it is licensed to care for. One hundred ninety patients from the Rockaway Care Center in Queens, which flooded due to the storm, have had to sleep on cots in multi-purpose rooms and in the center’s chapel.
About 160 residents of an assisted living facility in Queens called Belle Harbor Manor had to be evacuated to the grounds of the Creedmor Psychiatric Center, a partly-unused mental health facility. The evacuees complained of being mixed in with patients suffering from severe mental disorders, and losing freedoms such as the ability to have visitors in their rooms.
According to New York’s Health Department, more than 6,200 people were evacuated from 47 different nursing homes and assisted living facilities as a result of Hurricane Sandy, and storm damage has meant that about a dozen were still closed two months later, with others only able to accept a limited number of residents back.
The majority of patients were evacuated after the storm, under flood conditions, and were unable to bring extra clothing and personal belongings.
Officials said it may be weeks before facilities with some of the worst flood damage are able to re-open.
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