Many West nursing home patients now live at The Atrium in Waco

POSTED: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 1:48pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 10:04pm

Since the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West last week, many former residents of the West Rest Haven Nursing Home have been adjusting to new accommodations. Majority of them are now staying at The Atrium in Waco.

"It's hard just to go off and leave all of the friends I had. And, I don't know where they went. I still don't know where a bunch of them are," said Lucille McCartney.

92-year-old Lucille McCartney is one of the 133 residents safely rescued from the West Rest Haven Nursing Home, following last Wednesday's explosion. She is now one of more than two dozen who have relocated to The Atrium.

"We started off with about 92 in the whole building. And, we ended up with 117. So, our increase over here was really a lot," said Patti Nichols, LVN for The Atrium.

The Atrium says in the two years that they have been up and running, they've never reached full capacity, until now. And, for the most part, everyone seems to be adjusting.

"I have my health. And, to be my age, I think I'm doing pretty well," said Marlene Steinocher.

Marlene Steinocher has lived in West most of her life, since 1941 to be exact. And, she's hopes to soon go back.

"My home is in West. I will go back to West whenever they release me from here," said Steinocher.

But, for now, she's enjoying mingling with other patients and reading, just to do anything to take her mind off of last week's tragedy.

"I don't want to think about it," said Steinocher.

It's been an adjustment, not only for the patients from West, but also for those already staying at the Atrium. Many are now sharing their rooms.

"I know we all fell on them. And, it was just as hard on them as it was on us," said McCartney.

Nevertheless, previous residents are taking on a leadership role, assisting where they can.
"I help them with their shoes, their bandages, whatever I can do," said resident Mary Whitely.

This facility has taken in the most patients following the fertilizer plant blast. They say there are only about two more bed spaces left, and about a 12 patient long waiting list.

The Atrium has also hired nurses, bus drivers, and others from the West Rest Haven Nursing Home to care for the patients.


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