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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: February 17, 2015


NEW CASTLE (Feb. 17, 2015) - Because of ongoing problems with the hot water system at Emily P. Bissell Hospital near Wilmington, Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf has made the decision to work with the 48 residents to move them from the state-run nursing facility to other nursing homes over the next 45 days to ensure their continued safety and well-being.

After months of ongoing problems with the hot water system, the nursing home had a complete failure of the boiler that supplies hot water to the facility during the evening of Feb. 6. No one was in the boiler room at the time and there were no injuries. Two other boilers provide heat to the building and hot water to the kitchen. A temporary hot water system now provides hot water to the facility. DHSS facilities mangers said it is expected to take as long as six months to replace the failed hot water system.

"Our priority is to keep the residents healthy, safe and comfortable," Secretary Landgraf said. "The management teams at Emily Bissell and the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities have reached out for support in the move to our Division of Long-Term Care Residents Protection and the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman. Most importantly, all residents and their families have been notified about the need for the move. In preparation, we are assessing the needs of each resident and will make the most appropriate placement in accordance with them, their care plans and their families."

Secretary Landgraf said the DHSS team is exploring with residents moves to the state-run Governor Bacon Health Center in Delaware City, the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill in Smyrna, privately run nursing homes or placements in the community. She expects all residents to be moved by March 31.

Staff from Emily Bissell will accompany residents to the other state-run facilities, private nursing homes or community placements to assist in their transitions. Other resources, including medical services, will also follow residents.

Emily P. Bissell Hospital, which was founded in the early 1900s, originally provided care to people diagnosed with tuberculosis. Today, Emily Bissell provides skilled and intermediate care on the 50-acre campus on Newport Gap Pike.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.