West seniors still recovering two months after explosion

POSTED: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 1:43pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 - 10:36pm

It's been two months since the deadly blast in West caused hundreds of nursing home patients to relocate.

Since the explosion, more than a dozen patients reportedly have died after relocating. One Waco nursing home says they're doing all they can to ease the stress until victims can go back home.

Polka music fills the air in one wing of the Quality Care nursing home in Waco as residents fellowship.

"It's uplifting, it just helps them feel like they're at home. You know, it's what they're used to," said Vicki Vochoska, who works with medical records for Quality Care.

Vochoska says she knows exactly how the residents feel because she, too, lost her home in West. She says her home was just a block from the West Rest Haven Nursing Home.

One area of the Quality Care center is designed specifically for victims of the West explosion. Rooms have been purposefully redesigned to help the patients feel more at home.

"You can tell, they are just so happy to see people that they know, familiar faces. They just feel like they're at home again," said Vochoska.

Since the tragedy happened more than a dozen patients who once lived in the West Rest Haven Nursing Home have reportedly died since relocating.

"A lot of them were ill already, and I think the explosion may have excelled it. But, they were probably, you know, in a debilitated state already," said Linda Havel, Director of Nurses for Quality Care.

Prior to the explosion, Havel was a supervisor at West Rest Haven Nursing Home.

To help ease the pain, Quality Care in Waco has hired 11 staff members from West and taken in more than 20 victims. They have plans to take in even more. And, one day soon, the hospital staff hopes to take those same patients back to their beloved town of West.

"They all plan to go back," said Havel.


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