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The Big Uneasy: Katrina’s Unsung Heros

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This film is a tribute to the staff of Louisiana’s nursing homes who brought thousands of residents safely through the storm and its aftermath. This film is both inspirational and practical, sharing stories of heroism and concrete strategies for survival.

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Film produced by B&F Consulting and Louisiana Public Broadcasting

“A crisis doesn’t build character; it reveals character,” says director of nursing Ann Stansberry of the staff of her nursing home inĀ The Big Uneasy: Katrina’s Unsung Heroes. “We’re watching on TV and they’re seeing their entire city flooded to the rooftops, not knowing if their husbands are okay, if their children are okay. But they hung in there and they cared for these individuals.”

Emergencies can happen anywhere. The lessons learned from Katrina have universal applicability. The heroism of nursing home staff provides lessons in humanity and courage. The leadership practices that prepared staff to rise to the challenges exemplify the best in leadership, in emergencies and in daily operations. Their good practices contributed to staff stability in the midst of chaos and provided the psychological preparedness needed to support staff’s resilience in the crisis and their recovery afterwards.

This film is a primer on disaster preparedness, a celebration of the dedication of nursing home staff, and a textbook example of good leadership practices. It demonstrates how culture change principles support survival in dire circumstances, and provide the pathway to recovery.

It was produced by Cathie Brady and Barbara Frank of B&F Consulting, and Susan Wehry, MD, through the New Orleans Nursing Home Staffing Project, a three year effort to help homes through the emergency and its aftermath, to recovery and stability. Paid for by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals with funds from the Nursing Home Residents’ Trust Fund, the project was administered by the State of Louisiana Long Term Care Ombudsman Program in collaboration with Gulf States Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the Louisiana Nursing Home Association, the Department of Health and Hospitals, and other key partners.

Running time is 49 minutes. Part 1 shares the experience and Part 2 shares the lessons.

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