Story Feature

Now that Hurricane Dorian is on the move out of the southern United States, Life Care Centers of America’s hurricane evacuees from South Carolina are heading home.


On Friday morning, residents and associates from Life Care Center of Hilton Head, Life Care Center of Charleston and The Bridge at Charleston assisted living packed up to return to their communities.


One hundred fifty seven residents were evacuated. They stayed at Life Care Center of East Ridge and Life Care Center of Ooltewah in the Chattanooga, Tennessee, area, as well as at Life Care Center of Gwinnett in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and Life Care Center of Columbia, South Carolina (outside the evacuation zone).


“Everybody did great,” said Jennifer Solomon, vice president of Life Care’s Eastern Division, which covers Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia and the Carolinas. “We had no damage to the buildings, and God kept his arms around us with no injuries.”


Associates made phone calls daily to the family representative of each resident to keep them informed.


“The families said they appreciated being kept in the loop while their family members were away from home,” Solomon said.


Life Care used four of its company wheelchair-accessible buses, in addition to the Life Care Center of Charleston bus, to evacuate the facilities, with the support of its corporate, divisional and regional teams. Now, those same buses are reversing the drive, returning patients, staff members and equipment.


“The stay has been truly wonderful,” said Patricia Fowler, a resident at Life Care Center of Charleston who waited out the storm at Life Care Center of East Ridge. “We were made to feel like family. From providing something we forgot or just giving general information, the staff has gone above and beyond in care.”


Wilford Corbin, a Charleston resident staying at Life Care Center of Ooltewah, shared, “I’m 99 years old, and I get tired easy. We knew we had to get out because the storm was coming soon, but as far as evacuations go, we couldn’t ask for any better. This is a beautiful place.”


Patients were even able to continue their rehabilitation sessions at their host facilities.


“Physical therapy and occupational therapy have been great,” said Marilyn Wanninger, another Charleston resident staying at the East Ridge facility. “They take the time to sit and talk to you and explain why you’re doing this and why you’re doing that.”


Life Care buildings in Tennessee and Georgia have hosted hurricane evacuees several times in the last few years.


“We’ve kind of got this down to a science now with God’s help,” said Solomon. “It was seamless. We probably had more associates go with us this year, and that says a lot when our staff take the time away from their own families to take care of the residents.”


Life Care Center of Hilton Head’s residents and associates are returning home today, with some of the Charleston residents and associates returning Friday and some Saturday.

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