Residents from Avonview evacuated in clusters.
Subject: Evacuation of civilians (New Zealand)
Evacuation of civilians (Management)
Emergency management (Management)
Nurses (Practice)
Nurses (Social aspects)
Pub Date: 10/01/2010
Publication: Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032
Issue: Date: Oct, 2010 Source Volume: 16 Source Issue: 9
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics; 290 Public affairs Computer Subject: Company business management
Product: Product Code: 8043100 Nurses NAICS Code: 621399 Offices of All Other Miscellaneous Health Practitioners
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 241179353
Full Text: To rest-homes in Christchurch suffered major damage in the earthquake, with around O0 residents having to be evacuated. At the Avonview Retirement Village in Darlington, ensuring the safety of the 40 rest-home residents and 20 living in studios and apartments was top priority for the two caregivers on duty and owner/managers Grant and Sarah Buchanan.

"Following the 'quake, all 60 residents were brought into the lounge for safety. This was quite a challenge with the lifts not working, fire alarms ringing constantly and water from the sprinklers dumped in the corridors," said Sarah Buchanan. "Some residents were wheel chaired in and some walked. We wanted to keep everyone inside, as liquefaction was making the ground just too dangerous to walk on. As it was, one lady who did go outside broke her arm and there was one lacerated leg injury."

Somehow, despite the chaos, staff managed to serve residents their breakfast and those fostered on morning shift came into work straight away. Because of concerns about lights being full of water, power to them from the home's emergency generator was turned off, with staff dealing with residents by torch tight until a generator was plugged in outside in the street by midnight on the Sunday.

"Basically, we had to cope the best we could on our own for the first 48 hours, with no power, water supply or sewerage," Buchanan said. "The residents were able to go back to their rooms once structural engineers said they were safe. For the first two days, we relied on the water from the hot water cylinders until the DHB arranged for a tanker supply. We got people to stop flushing their toilets and used as little water as we could, just for cooking and a minima[ amount for washing of residents. Clean water became a precious commodity."


Toileting 70 residents on four commodes (there was other gear in storage, but this couldn't be accessed) and burying the waste in a hole in the ground was another challenge for Avonview staff. Water from the river was used to rinse out the commodes, which were then disinfected. Despite having no water or power for five days and staff having to rely on alcohol get hand washing, residents experienced no norovirus infections.

"The dedication of our staff kept us going," Buchanan said. "They worked tirelessly, putting aside their own worries. Even husbands of staff came in to help. Our residents were understandably traumatised, but they were also very stoic and uncomplaining. Some had to go without a shower for a week, until they were finally moved to new facilities."

Following an assessment by the DHB's aged-care team, the first six, most dependent residents were evacuated on the Monday. The rest were moved over the next few days to a variety of other rest-homes, many to a newly built, but as yet unoccupied, dementia wing in Brookhaven Retirement Village. The 20 studio and apartment residents were accommodated on one floor of the Parkview Apartments. Avonview staff were available to work at the facilities now housing evacuated residents, white many continued caring for residents at Parkview, ferrying food and clean laundry to them from Avonview.

"We have lost 44 rest-home beds and are facing having to bulldoze the rest-home which is just full of busted pipes and cracks," said Grant Buchanan. "We are a close family business, so having to say goodbye to our residents and their families has been very emotional for us. Many would like to come back here when we rebuild, but we know the likelihood of this happening is remote."

Registered nurse Kathryn Stewart, who has worked at Avonview for ten years, says everyone is doing what they can to help the Buchanans, as they pack up the rest-home and continue checking on their former residents. "We have visited some of the residents in their new homes and we get greeted by huge smiles. They just love to see a familiar face," Stewart said. "Families have been wonderful too, fully understanding why the residents have had to leave. Fortunately, most are settling well into their new accommodation and we expect those at Parkview will be able to return to their own apartments in the next few days."
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