NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — Some of Norfolk's most vulnerable citizens have been moved out of harm's way ahead of Hurricane Florence.

13News Now was first to report Consulate Health Care evacuated its 222-bed facility on Llewellyn Avenue, in the Riverview neighborhood.

Ambulances and large buses lined up to evacuate the sick and elderly folks Wednesday morning. Hospice nurse Michelle Sloan was there to ease her patients through the transition.

“It is sunny right now but we do have to be proactive,” she said. “Moving them out of a bad situation, although we don't know how bad it may be.”

Technically, the nursing home is just outside the mandatory evacuation Zone A, but we've learned the City of Norfolk and officials decided it was necessary to make the move ahead of time.

Concern about flooding is one reason for the evacuation. If something were to happen, they wouldn't be able to get help in and patients out.

“A lot of people here are on equipment that need electricity,” Michelle explained. “We're also worried about wind and high winds and if the electricity does go out, how are they going to function.”

Michelle cares for some of the medically complex patients at the facility, including people with dementia and other long term-care cases.

“It is difficult,” she described. “Hospice is a sensitive situation. They are always aware and alert, no matter what state they are in. So the community and our team is great about always still speaking with the patient, letting them know what's still going on, even though they may not be able to respond to us.”

The patients are going to sister facilities in the state, where the storm is not as big of a concern.

If you have a family member at Consulate Health Care of Norfolk and want to get updates, phone calls will be routed to a call center, which is manned 24/7.

“They should know that their loved ones are in good hands and that they're being transferred with care and comfort,” Michelle added.

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