HAMLET — Richmond Pines Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has accepted more than 40 patients from its owners’ Lumberton location who had to be evacuated as the result of flooding caused by Hurricane Florence.
The nursing home, which normally has an average of 80 patients and can hold 115, received state approval to accept the additional patients, according to Randy Kropp, facility manager.
Kropp said ambulances from Lumberton, Wake County and as far away as West Virginia were drafted to transport patients from Highland Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Sunday night. Staff from the Lumberton facility are helping Richmond Pines care for the new patients, as are staff from the facilities’ partners in Charlotte and Kentucky.
Kropp described the transition as a “traumatic 24 hours” for the elderly residents.
“It got a little crazy on Sunday, but our staff kicked in and did a great job,” Kropp said. “The residents are a little shell shocked, but they’re doing extremely well considering what they went through.”
It’s unclear how long the new residents will stay at Richmond Pines.
CBS News reported that the nonprofit Cajun Navy Relief and Rescue, made up of volunteers from across the country, assisted in the transition, which took about five hours.
“I think what we were able to accomplish tonight was to give these people some dignity, holding their hand, asking them if they would like to somebody to pray with them,” said Allen Lenard, one of the volunteers. “As much as I believe were were a blessing to those people, I know as a matter of fact, that they were a blessing to me tonight.”
Hurricane Florence dumped 22 inches of rain on Richmond County, according to an estimate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The hurricane also has killed at least 37 people, according to the Associated Press, although Richmond County Emergency Services Director Donna Wright said no one in Richmond County died as a result of the storm.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]