Quick action needed amidst the wildfires
Brandy Hoffert, a Director of Physical Therapy and Senior Director of Rehab with Infinity Rehab, works at Molalla Manor, a skilled nursing facility in Molalla, Oregon. She was returning to work from some time off for her birthday around September 8. She had been in Southern Oregon, where it had been somewhat smoky. When she returned home and to work, it was a different story.
Her nursing staff were very stressed. The wildfire impact was much more intense in Molalla. One employee had lost their home in nearby Colton, Oregon. Another had horses that needed saving and a home in danger. They were also short-staffed.
While Brandy instructed her therapists to quickly finish treatment, she leant a hand to the nursing staff who were in need of help. Brandy quickly identified which patients would need stretchers or wheelchairs and which could walk on their own during evacuation. She helped assemble bags of essential items that each patient would need.
Evacuating patients is no small task
Time was of the essence as the threat of nearby fires from three different directions was eminent. Locations to take the patients had to be secured. Brandy worked on organizing patient documentation alphabetically to access easily when evacuations took place. She barely completed this task when alarms filled the facility, alerting everyone that Molalla had progressed to level 3 evacuation; this meant everyone had to leave immediately.
One bump in the road was the number of stretchers needed. Three patients needed stretchers, but only two were available.
Getting out in the nick of time
Two hours into the work and preparation of evacuating patients after level 3 hit and stress levels were high. Staff were waiting for the last bus and that third stretcher to arrive. The sky was a grim dark red and black color. Ash was falling from the sky and penetrating the air.
The last bus finally comes, but they can’t fit everyone on and that elusive third stretcher has also not arrived. One patient, although in a wheelchair, could walk and offers to sit in the front seat of the bus to make room. Everyone can fit, except the one patient waiting for the last stretcher.
Did they get that last stretcher?
The last stretcher is not coming. Brandy enlisted the help of an admin and DNS that just arrived from a nearby sister facility. They devised a plan to use a patient lift to transfer this last resident to a wheelchair. As they pushed the patient through the black ash that continued to swarm the air, they made it to the admin’s car, where they were able to dead-lift the patient into the front seat! The patient safely made it to a sister facility in Chehalem.
Evacuated to safety
Later that evening, all patients had been evacuated to safety to six different Prestige buildings. As of this publishing, they are starting to welcome patients back.
Brandy noted, “We had multiple staff from other buildings and tons of facility staff that were off-duty come to help the building when it was needed. It was such a wonderful team effort to witness and be a part of, even though it was a little scary. I am so proud of all of the staff at Molalla Manor!”