I know that some of you have been working remotely for a week, some for as long as three weeks, and others are just entering social isolation as the COVID-19 moves and grows. We now have another 30 days of social distancing ahead of all of us.
Frankly, we have never seen anything quite like this, affecting all of the CILs at the same time. Some of us have closed doors temporarily in the past, in a hurricane or blizzard or fire, but only one center at a time. With all of us impacted at roughly the same time, this is an opportunity to share strategies with each other. So here are a few questions to prompt discussion.
How are you continuing services to consumers and still socially isolating? Your federal grants expect you to continue to be available as the disability community works its way through this crisis. Some centers have the technology to forward all incoming calls from the CIL to a staff person, who in turn forwards messages to all the staff. Centers that don’t have that capability may have staff going into the office. The challenge there is to keep the office free of any contamination, which means a thorough cleaning of any spaces used, at the end of every shift. Most are not providing face to face services, but are finding other ways to assist consumers through this crisis.
Do you know that your consumers are safe and that they have what they need to shelter in place for the next month? Centers around the country are checking in with consumers any way that they can. Some are using a wellness checklist to make sure that they ask some of the urgent questions:
- How do you feel? Do you have a way to check your temperature? Are you coughing? (You are not diagnosing, but are assisting with knowing if the individual should talk to their doctor.)
- Do you have food? For how many meals?
- Do you have medication for at least 30 days?
- Are there other supplies you are out of?
- Are you practicing social distancing? Staying home?
Whatever IL skills the person has, these are stressful times which demand some new skills. As you discover what each person needs, you can assist them in learning about your community resources. Some on-line resources will ship direct to your home. Amazon, Costco, Sam’s are just a few. Many pharmacies will mail prescription refills as well. Most restaurants and some grocery stores are delivering directly or through a delivery service. You should note what the choices are for your community and be ready to assist the person in connecting with these services so that they can stay safe at home.
What is your center doing to address this crisis with the people you serve. Please share your ideas here. If you aren’t subscribed to ILRU’s newsletter, go to ILRU.com and subscribe so you receive regular updates from funders and other centers related to the responses to COVID-19.