August 14, 2020
“Oh the things you can find, if you don’t stay behind” ~ Dr. Seuss
We are going to keep moving forward and evolving because there are plenty of individuals depending on us. If we lead the way, we get to control what it is we find, rather than finding things someone else thinks are important because we went their way.
WE are in this together, walk with me….
There are so many things that we need to think about and so many ideas we can come up with. Health and Safety, PPE’s, Staffing, getting back together again at 900 Asylum, providing variety in the Day Program (ex. face to face, virtual, staggered beginning times and days, transportation, who can wear the PPEs, social distancing, building capacity, meetings of the minds with Sr. Team, Management Teams, Case Managers, Direct Care Staff, Families & Guardians, DDS and the Board). It’s all buzzing around our heads as we shape the new normal.
It’s not only normal for us all to feel scared, but very appropriate. The more unknown something is, the less control we all feel we have. Most importantly, there is no book written for us to follow the chapters, so no one really knows how to do it “right.”
Even the experts we rely on don’t have all the answers, so it’s normal to have our own uncertainties and doubts.
With so much to think about it becomes clear that we can only do this together, one person cannot plan this most important moment for us, we must all put our ideas together. We can’t think about everything all at once, so the next month and half will be strategic. Keeping in mind that the result will be what we all want for all involved.
As a team, we have overcome many obstacles that have only made us more confident in the way we make decisions.
To make our next decisions, let’s look at what we have to consider:
On June 10, 2010, DDS sent out Guidance for providers to start the re-opening of the Day Programs after working closely with individuals and families to gather feedback on what they would like the reopening of employment and day services to look like. One of the methods to solicit this feedback was through the use of a survey issued to individuals and families. Over 1,730 people responded with critical details that were used to help develop the DDS guidance.
DDS Reopening Guidance maintains the importance of protecting the health and safety of individuals and staff while also utilizing a person-centered process to create flexibility as we all adapt to a new way of business. It requires all providers to submit an agency-based, person-centered plan that would phase in reopening. Providers should be creative and flexible in the development of their plans and consider an array of service delivery options.
Considerations for return to day programming at 900 Asylum include:
- Wearing a mask upon entrance and exit and while in public areas such as the elevators, bathrooms, and hallways.
- Maintaining 6 feet of social distance.
- Staying on your program floor and not wandering to other floors.
- Consideration of preexisting medical conditions (high risk).
- Getting signed waivers from the guardians of participants at 900 Asylum.
Team agreement with day program service options through virtual meetings with Harc case managers, guardians, and DDS case managers. All team members must agree to the return plan and that the participants can follow the procedures.
Guidance timeline and process:
All provider plans were to be submitted by June 19, 2020. This we met.
DDS reviewed all plans and sent a response to the provider by June 26, 2020. Harc’s plan was approved by DDS.
Teams were to meet between June 29, 2020, and July 14, 2020. If there were adjustments needed to amend any authorizations, the case manager updated the IP and facilitated the changes to the authorization. Teams continue to meet. Some, not all, have agreed to return to Harc’s Day Program.
July 15, 2020 – Our soft opening. Providers are to make available the opportunity to support all DDS funded individuals with either electronic or virtual face to face supports and provide a minimum of one hour of service at least three days per week to those who are willing to participate. In addition, providers will support at least 50% of the DDS funded individuals in their agency for no less than 50% of the person’s weekly service hours.This will be inclusive of all service delivery options framed out in the waiver and appendix K. Harc opened its doors at 900 Asylum to the Day Program of 30 plus participants, 48 virtual agreed, 7 agreed to in-home support, 16 agreed to participate in a Day Program through another agency, 6 working at job sites, and 36 are in a Day Program through Harc’s Residential Program.
Phase 2 Pushed back by DDS to October 1, 2020. The original date was September 1, 2020. Providers are to make available the opportunity to support all DDS funded individuals with either electronic or virtual face to face supports, and provide a minimum of one hour of service five days per week to those who are willing to participate. Providers will support at least 75% of the DDS funded individuals in their agency for no less than 75% of the person’s weekly service hours. This will be inclusive of all service delivery options framed out in the waiver and appendix K. We are working on this now and it is our goal to have an increase in our participation at the 900 Asylum Day Program.
- Note: Moving to Phase 2 will be based on benchmarks that may include but are not limited to:
# of cases (increase-decrease-stable)
# of new cases (increase-decrease-stable)
# of tests administered (increase-decrease-stable)
Amount of testing available
Geographical location and regional spread data
Rate of virus transmission data
Phase 3 November 1, 2020 (30 days after 2 phase) Provider should be at 100% capacity, based on the above benchmarks.
“We will either find a way or make one.” ~ Anibal Barca
- Health and Safety of our participants and staff:
- Building is sanitized several times a day and fogged every week.
- Everyone who enters the building has their temperature taken and answers the health screening questions.
- Elevators, hallways, and the lobby are marked with direction arrows and 6 feet social distance markers on the floors. We have feet markers to illustrate where you should stand to maintain the 6 feet of social distance while waiting for the elevator.
- No one is allowed into the building without a mask.
- Bathrooms are cleaned every hour on the hour with a log to track the cleaning.
- Start and end times of staff and participants are staggered to limit the number of people coming or going from the building at any given time.
- Hand sanitizer is available throughout the building by the elevator, in public areas, and in all program areas.
- Disinfectant is available in all program areas and conference rooms to disinfect copiers and tables after each use.
- Programs for our Participants are held on the 2nd and 5th floors to minimize contact.
- Staff and Participants are to stay on their designated floors to minimize contact.
- Quarantine specific rooms are designated on each floor if needed.
- No visitors unless operationally necessary.
- The water fountains and water coolers are not being used at this time to reduce any possible contamination.
- No transportation is provided during this time.
ERC/Supported, LEP, Bulova, CCH, and Birth to Three are face to face or virtual
Residential, IHS and CRS are running at 100%
As we move forward through the phases, our approach will be one that addresses the need for normalcy of operations while maintaining sensitivity of all.
I know I have given you a lot of information. I want you to know that this will not be taken lightly, and that Harc’s plan for re-opening through these phases will be a team effort
Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I appreciate you,