429 certified beds
The facility remained open during Hurricane Katrina and stayed open throughout the subsequent flooding.
Little damage from the hurricane; there was some window breakage and relatively minor exterior damage. The hospital currently operates near or at capacity.
West Jefferson Medical Center did not evacuate during Hurricane Katrina or subsequently. Back-up generators provided power. Onsite were approximately 300-350 hospital patients, 1,000 staff members, 400-500 family members of staff, 80 critical needs patients and their caregivers, and 300-400 emergency workers. Many critical needs patients were transferred to other facilities. A hospital leadership team established an incident command center according to the hospital’s emergency plan, and key staff held twice-daily departmental briefings. Staff report that their relationships with local government, service providers, and businesses were critical to hurricane recovery.
Housing for approximately 350 displaced hospital employees is urgently needed. DMAT teams continue to handle emergency care for higher-than-usual numbers of patients. As the likelihood increases that neighboring hospitals may not re-open, officials report that West Jefferson is poised to play a larger role in medical care for the greater New Orleans area.
Submitted by Lucy Arendt and Daniel Hess
October 6, 2005