CRADACL & COVID July 3, 2020
As we near the Stage 2 Recovery in regards to our non-essential programs, we are cautiously and thoughtfully planning on how to do this, with the least possibility of contracting or spreading COVID. This is an ever evolving situation, and when we’ve laid the best plans we thought of, something else comes to our attention, and we ‘tweak’ the plan once again. It’s definitely time to move forward, as the people we serve are anxious to see their friends and staff whom they haven’t seen for several months now.
The OSH Committee has done their work in regards to developing and implementing a Safety Plan for all staff, and the Supervisors of each specific program have also developed site specific plans in order to mitigate the spread of COVID at the worksite. We have all followed the directives of WorksafeBC and Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer. We whole heartedly believe that there is little left to do other than constantly be reviewing what we have developed, and changing as the need arises. We have done well so far in the decisions we’ve made, and are confident that any future decisions are for the betterment of all individuals in our organization.
CLBC Non-essential Programs:
In regards to CLBC funded programs, we have submitted those plans to CLBC, and are awaiting verification from them that we can proceed with reopening day programs on a limited basis. All staff will be deployed, be it working at the buildings, or providing some support to those who at this time will not be attending the buildings. Ross Chilton, CEO, Community Living BC has clearly stated that all staff need to be deployed as the strain on families and caregivers is taking its toll on them. A quote from his email dated June 26th “CLBC will not fund service providers for staff who are not working during stage two”. We fully agree that we need to provide meaningful support, and restoring as much in-person service during Stage 2 as possible. We will not be returning to pre-COVID supports, however with our safety measures in place, and thoughtful planning, should allow most individuals to receive support in some fashion, if they wish. When we welcome participants back to the programs, this will be very limited with minimizing the amount of people in contact with each other. Staff will support the same participants when they attend, forming a small ‘bubble’ in itself. If all goes well, those ‘bubbles’ will expand slowly. We will be contacting families and caregivers as soon as we have the confirmation from CLBC that we can proceed with Stage 2 Recovery.
CLBC/MCFD Essential Services:
The Semi Independent Living Program has been providing service throughout the pandemic, and will continue to do so through Stage 2. All staff will be reporting to work on a regularly scheduled basis, as the safety measures in this program have been developed and adhered to by the staff and supervisor.
Our group homes have welcomed a few new residents in the past month, and the staff have continued to provide outstanding support to the residents. They are still in their ‘bubbles’ and will most likely be the last to be able to attend the day programs because we are trying to keep each individual ‘bubble’ to a minimum.
MCFD Funded Programs:
Most of the MCFD funded programs have submitted their program specific plans on how they will provide service, virtually, and in person, allowing for minimal contact with others in-person. Generally the services provided at Dogwood Place during the summer are not as busy, as families tend to take their vacation at that time. The programs do get busy though doing reports for the kids transitioning to kindergarten, and those can be done from home, as all staff are set up with computers and access to files at their homes. That being said, there are still, in-person therapy sessions planned, and the staff are scheduling themselves on a staggered basis in order to meet the needs of those who need the in-person supports. Once all of the plans have been submitted, I will submit them to MCFD for their input.
Palmer Place will not be opening their ‘activity room’ for the time being, but they are providing rides to town in the van on a limited basis, ensuring physical distancing is adhered to. Both Lions Place and Palmer Place have safety plans in place for the staff who may need to enter suites, and continue with the maintenance of the buildings.
Ironwood Place is still being directed by Island Health, and the team at Ironwood are vigilantly following those directives. They are now allowing limited visits for the seniors, as per PHO, and can now get a hair cut, as hairdressers are now allowed to enter the building. This is great news, as the seniors have been isolated for a very long time, and it has been difficult on them, but the staff have kept it light and bearable for all.
Thank you to all for your part in this whole process. Mostly to our self advocates who have been without in-person service for such a long time, and to their caregivers and family members who have filled in the days that we weren’t there. We are hoping this will change in the very near future. Also to all of the staff who have continued to work throughout this pandemic with a positive outlook, and willingness to help wherever needed. Your dedication and commitment haven’t gone unnoticed!
Interim Executive Director