One Facility’s Response to Serving Fire Evacuees

by Mark Friedlander
Executive Director
San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living

We at the SF Jewish Home and Rehab Center on the Campus for Jewish Living were contacted by SFDPH late Friday afternoon October 25th to inquire about our current census and bed availability due to the Kincaid fire evacuations. However, it wasn’t until 9 p.m. on Monday night, October 28 that we were asked to open our doors to 3-5 frail evacuees currently at the Santa Rosa Evacuation Center. Since we did indeed have some private rooms available, we of course said yes, we would welcome them into our community. The first guest arrived at midnight, followed by two others around 3 a.m.  Internally we activated our Incident Command that met twice a day to ensure our visiting residents were adjusting well and that their care needs were being met. 

By midday the following day, all three residents were resting comfortably.  They had been seen by our therapy team for PT/OT/Speech therapy, and assessed by a physician and a registered dietician.  They were gifted new clothing and fresh floral arrangements to brighten their rooms. They had visits by our Rabbi, Life Enrichment staff, Social Workers and in-house supportive counselor. Outreach was made to their families and to the RCFE Administrator for care endorsements.  While we cared for our “temporary residents,” we sent nightly bed availability information to SFDPH so that we could welcome other displaced residents as needed.  

We were fortunate that the RCFE Administrator from the care home where these elders resided was amazing.  She personally traveled to our campus for a care conference to continue to endorse care needs and then made visits to each resident.  This exchange of information was invaluable to ensure each of our guests continued to receive the care and services they needed with their individualized preferences including how each person preferred meal service assistance.  

On October 30, we received word that the mandatory evacuations had been lifted and that our visiting residents would most likely return to their homes the next day.  Preparation for a safe and comfortable discharge were made and beginning the afternoon of the 31st our guests began to leave, concluding at 9:00 p.m. that evening. 

It was indeed an honor to care for these displaced residents as well as to be of service to our greater Bay Area community.  Through difficult challenges springs kindness. Today we were providers of care, someday we may need to reach out to be the recipients of care for our residents.  By definition, a community is a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society. We are grateful to have shared our community with others and to be part of the large community of  Bay Area caregivers doing our best to serve.

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