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Published March 26, 2009, 12:00 AM

Eventide nursing home in Moorhead evacuating

Clara Sellheim initially forgot her toothbrush Wednesday as she hustled to grab clothes, ice cream and her computer after being told she had to leave her residence at Moorhead’s Eventide Living Center.

By: Brittany Lawonn, INFORUM

Clara Sellheim initially forgot her toothbrush Wednesday as she hustled to grab clothes, ice cream and her computer after being told she had to leave her residence at Moorhead’s Eventide Living Center.

Sellheim, 84, is among roughly 400 residents being relocated from the facility in a proactive approach to “decrease the number of people we have to worry about in case the worst happens,” said Jon Riewer, Eventide president.

“We just can’t pick up and leave at the drop of a hat,” he said.

Other area health care facilities are working with state officials to determine where to send residents if an evacuation is needed and to decrease the number of patients.

Residents living in senior housing or assisted-living facilities at Eventide were given the option to leave Tuesday. Families were notified Wednesday that if possible, they should try to pick up residents, Sellheim said.

Sellheim said she is OK with the relocation to her granddaughter’s residence and hopes to hook up her computer and get back on Facebook to let people know she’s all right.

About 195 Eventide nursing home residents will begin being moved today to area facilities.

The facility did not evacuate during the 1997 flood, but changed its approach after looking at events such as Hurricane Katrina, Riewer said, adding it’s not worth a gamble.

Fargo’s Veterans Affairs Medical Center is taking similar measures, transferring 14 residents to St. Cloud, Minn., on Tuesday.

The facility currently has fewer than 20 patients, with one remaining in intensive care. Patients have also been sent to Sioux Falls, S.D., and Minneapolis, Director Robert McDivitt said. If remaining patients need to be moved, some could be transported in vans, he said.

North Dakota hospitals and health care facilities are looking to get help from Minnesota and South Dakota in terms of ambulances to move people and beds for them in case of an evacuation, said Loreeta Canton, spokeswoman for the North Dakota Department of Health.

For now, authorities suggest facilities cancel or postpone any elective procedures and send patients or residents home with family where possible for the next week or so to keep numbers down.

Officials for Innovis, MeritCare, and Prairie St. John’s medical facilities said they are trying to keep patient numbers down and have evacuation plans in place.

Bethany Homes in Fargo is not relocating its roughly 375 residents, but has an evacuation plan.

The facility is bringing in extra food, water and pharmacy supplies to last a week and created an evacuation plan for pets Wednesday, said Grant Richardson, senior executive for development and community relations.


Eventide hotline

A hot line for families of Eventide residents has been set up at (218) 233-7508. Daily updates will be posted at www.eventide.org.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541

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