The NY Times has a long feature on how Promenade nursing home in Far Rockaway was totally unprepared for Hurricane Sandy, endangering patients as the storm's surge barreled in: "Interviews with employees indicate that Promenade failed to carry out basic responsibilities, including adding staff for the storm as required by the state, stocking enough medicine and flashlights, and preparing patients’ records in case of evacuation," as electricity failed and patients and staff were in the dark. In fact, an EMT told us about the harrowing conditions when evacuating the nursing home.
The EMT worked on Tuesday, October 30, the day after Sandy hit the city. He said he had been evacuating many nursing homes that day: "One in particular was seriously affected. No electricity, no phone network on the whole island. I don't understand how some nursing homes didn't start to evacuate before the storm. Promenade Nursing home had hundreds of patient waiting in dark unheated hallways for rescue. The man in charge there did not even have a printed listed of the patients in his establishment!!! These elderly had to wait for hours on a chair, then more hours on a school bus or ambulance when lucky until we found them bed in various nursing homes in Brooklyn."
The Times' story revealed, "The nursing home administrator, who runs the home day to day, left the city — on what he said was a 'personal matter' — on Oct. 28, as the hurricane approached. The nursing director left the next afternoon to check on her sick husband; she did not return until Oct. 30, after the storm had blown over." And, "In most cases, no Promenade staff member accompanied the patients, and many patients traveled without their medical records. Both are violations of state regulations." Patients were taken to other nursing homes and shelters, but some patients are missing, and their relatives have no idea where they are.
NY State is investigating the nursing home, whose owners insist, "What was crazy is the New York State Department of Health told us not to evacuate before the storm, so we sheltered in place... I had to call them about 100 times before I was able to get the Office of Emergency Management to get them out." However, the State DOH denies this (claiming they tried to contact Promenade which was response-less) as do nurses—one says "that an owner told them over a loudspeaker to stop [gathering patient records], as he intended to ride out the storm." One Promenade nurse said, "It was absolute chaos; everyone was crying."