Public Health Nurses Return from Hurricane Relief in North Carolina

The Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) is home to most of the state’s human services and healthcare programs, including the Department for Medicaid Services, the Department for Community Based Services the Department for Public Health, the Department for Aging and Independent Living and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full- and part-time employees located across the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.

A Nurse “Strike Team” from Kentucky has returned from North Carolina where they worked in emergency shelters housing residents displaced by Hurricane Dorian. The team was in North Carolina for about one week.

“We are very proud of each member of our nurse strike team that volunteered to staff the frontlines of this disaster response,” said Dr. Angela Dearinger, Commissioner of DPH. “The role of nurses in disaster relief is critical and Kentucky nurses have a long history of supporting relief efforts by providing a high level of compassionate care that is so desperately needed for those affected by disasters like Hurricane Dorian.”

Kentucky’s Nurse Strike Team consisted of registered nurses and administrative staff members from the Bracken County Health Department and the Kentucky Department for Public Health. An attached photo features the nurse strike team members who traveled to North Carolina as part of the state’s emergency response for Hurricane Dorian. Featured left to right are: Joey Riddle (Department for Public Health)(DPH); Rachel Harrison, Bracken County Health Department; Lisa Hopper, (DPH); Sandi Wright (DPH), John Hunt, (DPH); Dr. Dearinger, DPH Commissioner; Cory Waddell, (DPH); Shelley Wood, (DPH); Nancy Hamilton, (DPH); Angela Brown, (DPH); and Angela Kik (DPH).

The strike team augmented staff to provide medical support to people who were displaced from their homes and were residing in general and medical needs shelters. The individuals housed in the medical support shelters had medical needs and were in relatively stable condition but had a chronic disease or condition such as diabetes or required oxygen or dialysis. Nurses provided patient assessments, assisted with medicine administration and provided general nursing care and comfort for these individuals.

Assistance requests are coordinated and authorized through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), which is a mutual aid agreement between states and territories in the United States. It enables states to share resources during natural and man-made disasters. Under EMAC agreements, the requesting state reimburses all associated costs incurred by the provider state. Kentucky Emergency Management (KYEM) is the managing authority for deployment of all Kentucky teams and assets.

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