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VNSNY: Providing Nonstop Care to a City in Need

The world knows New York as the City that Never Sleeps, but perhaps a more accurate nickname would be the City that Never Stops.

During and after the devastation of Sandy, VNSNY’s Emergency Response team coordinated the efforts of thousands of staff and clinicians who worked around the clock to ensure that care was delivered seamlessly.

Ginny Field, Vice President of Acute Care in Manhattan, estimates that the power outages and flooding are bigger obstacles to visiting patients than anything she’s seen before—including blizzards, blackouts, transit strikes, even the 9/11 attacks. When traffic lights are out, simply crossing the street can be a challenge. When patients can no longer buzz the nurse into their apartment buildings, getting in and out of homes becomes another struggle. Once inside, nurses and clinicians climb stairs, if elevators are out, or speak with stranded patients and caregivers on the phone to walk them through proper self-care procedures.

Knowing that the storm would be at its worst on Monday, some nurses came to work on Sunday to see patients scheduled for the following day, in the event that they weren’t able to get to patients’ homes. Our nurses traveled on foot during the height of the storm on Monday to visit patients in flooded areas, others rode bicycles from Middle Village in Queens to the Lower East Side. Others relied on car services and cabs to get to patients’ homes. Our nurses navigated stairs in pitch darkness and worked with flashlights strapped to their heads, they brought flashlights to patients whose batteries had died, brought bottled water and food to patients caught unprepared, and contacted out-of-town families to let them know their loved ones were safe and cared for.

Many of our employees themselves live in ravaged neighborhoods; a nurse from Breezy Point saw patients on Tuesday, even though her home was among the devastated. Nurses and nurse managers whose homes were without power and who weren’t sure they would be able to make it to headquarters rented hotel rooms to ensure that they would be able to coordinate staff and get the much needed care to patients.

Whether it’s an ordinary day or an extraordinary situation, VNSNY cares for New Yorkers. If you or someone you know is in need of VNSNY services, please call us at 1-800-675-0391.