Published August 22. 2021 3:34PM
By Erica Moser Day staff writer
Four nursing homes in Connecticut evacuated residents due to Tropical Storm Henri, Lamont Administration Chief of Staff Paul Mounds announced Sunday afternoon: the Apple Rehab locations in Old Saybrook, Mystic, Guilford and West Haven. Mounds said that included 45 residents in Mystic.
Apple Rehab wrote on its family portal at 10:38 a.m. Saturday, “Apple Rehab has made the decision to evacuate Apple Rehab Guilford, Mystic, and Saybrook after working closely with town and state officials. These residents will be evacuated to sister facilities within the company and information will be available as to their location as soon as possible. If you would like to take your loved one home until the situation has passed, please contact the facility.”
Apple Rehab provided the update at 1:41 p.m. Saturday that Apple Rehab West Haven was added to the list.
An hour later, the company listed the receiving sites, including that Apple Rehab Mystic residents would be going to the facility in Uncasville or Middletown.
The most recent update was posted at 8:24 a.m. and said, “All 256 residents made it safely to their destinations last night. Huge thank you to our families, staff, transportation companies, and DPH for working so cohesively with us to ensure a transition that was as smooth as possible before the storm. Now we wait!”
Vice President of Operations Karen Donorfio said in an email around 3 p.m. Sunday, “The management team at Apple Rehab determined after observing and learning of the potential impact of then Hurricane Henri throughout the day on Friday to evacuate four facilites on the shoreline.”
She said staff continue to follow up with each resident, and staff have been redirected to other facilities as needed.
“We will continue to communicate with residents and families and plan to move residents back to their home facilities early in the week,” Donorfio said.
Maggie Callahan Barry’s father was among the Mystic residents moved. Her father said he had great service, and residents were greeted Saturday night with cookies and drinks before settling into their rooms.
She said several staff from Mystic are working at the Uncasville facility Saturday so it was nice for her dad to see familiar faces, and that she’s been happy with the communication.
Connecticut State Long Term Care Ombudsman Mairead Painter said she went to three of the four buildings Saturday while they were being evacuated, including Mystic, and “thought they had a very good system in place. The residents all seemed aware of what was happening and why.”
She said staff at Mystic made up individual bags with snacks and treats for the residents to take on their rides, and that staff checked residents’ charts, reviewed their medications and gave them a fresh name band before they left.
Painter said transportation was based on the needs of each resident, with some going by wheelchair van and others by ambulance, for example.
“I think it was a smart, proactive move,” Painter said of the evacuation, talking around 2:30 p.m. Sunday. “You don’t really know what will happen with these types of storms.”