The Skilled Nursing Facility Residents at Eastern Plumas Health Care’s Loyalton Campus were evacuated on Sunday, December 11th and transported by ambulances to Portola’s Skilled Nursing.
The Loyalton facility’s heater system has two boilers and a month ago, the main one failed. The Number Two boiler, described as bad or worse than the main one and having bad pipes and cracks, was put online.
According to Linda Satchwell, Recruitment & PR Coordinator of Eastern Plumas Health Care, a disaster/evacuation plan was put into place and all residents’ families were called in case of failure and what would happen with each resident.
With the Number Two boiler failure, that disaster plan was put into place Sunday morning. According to Satchwell, EPHC CEO Tom Hayes and staff members spent two hours in Loyalton that morning on an evacuation plan.
Satchwell stated on Monday how Plant Operations Director Stan Peiler has been working with architects and driving from Portola to Loyalton at 1 a.m. daily “nursing” the boiler prior to its failure.
On Monday they were repairing and rebuilding one of the boilers and buying a forced air heat solution for backup in case the boilers fail again. Hospital CEO Tom Hayes was hopeful this temporary solution will be complete by the end of this week at which time they can transfer all residents back to Loyalton’s Campus.
The longer term solution is to replace the two boilers at the facility but this will take at least six months to a year because of all the permits needed from the State.
Satchwell stressed their focus is on patients and their families. She described it as a “horrible situation,” acknowledged “transfer trauma” and said they are doing everything to get the boilers fixed with a lot of staff working around the clock since it happened. A new system will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Satchwell.
Seventeen of the 21 Loyalton Campus skilled nursing residents were taken to Portola’s Skilled Nursing Facility. Four residents were taken home. Satchwell described Portola’s facility at 1 p.m. on Sunday, which had had most rooms full, as “quiet and calm” after eight of the residents had been transferred to regular rooms, SNF rooms and into the library.
Sierra County Supervisor Jim Beard had been in contact with Tom Hayes and had offered information on USDA which may help with funding in grants or with no and low interest rate loans.
On Monday night, Hayes met with members of Sierra Valley District Hospital Board over possible funding options.