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A Culture of Caring: Emergency Preparedness

Year After Year, Riverside Employees Answer the Call.

Ten years ago, Hurricane Katrina disrupted the services of behavioral healthcare and human service agencies in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. With Emergency Preparedness in mind, we asked ourselves, “How would Riverside get through a possible pandemic or major natural disaster?” One of the answers was clear; we would take advantage of our greatest strength, our employees, and ask them for help.

We asked our staff if they would consider helping out in case of an emergency or disaster at our programs that operate 24/7. Their assistance could be in a variety of forms. Helping out with everything from preparing meals, providing transportation, or administering basic healthcare and assisting in daily living activities.

The positive response from our employees—including therapists, accountants, human resources staff, and more—was amazing. So, we began to ask employees each year if they could help in these types of situations. Every year, more and more employees say “yes.” We continue to update the list, hoping we never need it.

In our most recent survey, hundreds of our staff—from direct care staff, administrative employees, and managers—who don’t work in our 24/7 programs said, “Yes, call on me if you need help.” These are people who work hard each day to support the people we serve and when we asked if they would give even more, once again, they stepped up to the plate.

This kind of response not only makes us prepared for an emergency but proud to say we work for Riverside as well.

~Kathy Janssen, Vice President of Quality Management


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