A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky nurse strike team on its way to North Carolina to help Hurricane Dorian victims

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A nurse strike team from Kentucky is on its way to help Hurricane Dorian victims in North Carolina. 

The deployment on Wednesday was coordinated by the Department for Public Health, within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, along with other local, state and federal officials.

Kentucky’s nurse strike team consists of registered nurses and administrative staff members, around 10 in all.

Cabinet for Health and Family Services

They will be working in local shelters in areas affected by Dorian and are expected to be there for about two weeks.

“The deployment of this team of public health nurses is a great reflection of how we continue to move the needle forward to a new level of service in the Department for Public Health,” said CHFS Secretary Adam Meier. “It validates all of the preparation and training this group has gone through. I commend them and thank them for their compassionate service.”

The strike team will augment on-site staff to provide medical support to people who are displaced from their homes and are currently residing in general or medical needs shelters. Those in the medical needs support shelters have medical needs and are in relatively stable condition but have a chronic disease or condition such as diabetes or require oxygen or dialysis. 

Nurses will be conducting medical history and physical exams, providing patient assessments, assisting with medicine administration, and providing general nursing care and comfort for these individuals.

“Kentucky stands willing and able to provide assistance to those areas affected by the storm,” Meier said. “We have been actively preparing to deploy our personnel and assets to address critical health issues in medical needs shelters.”

Assistance requests are coordinated and authorized through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, 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 the compact’s agreements, the requesting state reimburses all associated costs incurred by the provider state. 

This is the third September in a row that a Kentucky nurse strike team has been deployed to aid hurricane victims.

 In September 2018, a similar size group was sent to North Carolina to aid victims of Hurricane Florence. Florida was the first deployment under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, in September 2017, when a nurse strike team was sent in response to Hurricane Irma.

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