Residential Meets the Challenges of COVID19
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic change in the every day life of all individuals. It presented an unprecedented challenge to public health and general way of life. At Community Living of Rhode Island, the safety and wellbeing of our participants and staff remained the top priority. As a result, the Residential Services set up COVID-19 operating practices as part of our daily management routine and provided continuous training to ensure understanding of all guidelines provided by the State of Rhode Island and the CDC. As an organization it is our top priority to maintain a safe and healthy environment for all our participants and their family members.
WHAT WE ARE DOING.
At the start of the pandemic, family visits were conducted in an outside sitting area where social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, and no physical contact was strictly enforced according to the CDC, RI Dept. of Health, and BHDDH guidelines. We are proud to announce that 100% of our residential participants have been fully vaccinated and we are happy to be able to return to our normal visitation policy as of Friday, March 19, 2021.
We welcome families and friends to come to the residences to visit their loved one. We also welcome families to take their loved one out into the community for a visit or home for a visit. With that being said we have some important guidelines that everyone needs to adhere to in order to keep everyone safe. A mask must be worn at all times when entering into the residence as well as hand sanitizing before entering and when leaving the residence.
With regards to overnight home visits; We highly recommend that all family members be fully vaccinated before overnight home visit occurs. We also recommend, that social gatherings be kept to others that have been fully vaccinated and masks be worn at this time along with appropriate hand sanitizing.
In an effort to continue keeping everyone safe, we will work with individuals and families to ensure we create a plan suitable for the family and individual.
Our participants continue to utilizing technologies such as Facetime, regular phone calls and picture sharing on Facebook in order to stay in touch with their loved ones. CLRI has made it a top priority to keep families informed by sending emails and text messages with pictures and general updates. Families have played a crucial role and very supportive in the effort to stay safe and healthy during this COVID-19 pandemic. Families have had an input in the decision and plan for participants to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when available and if they desire to participate.
The main focus within the Residential Programs has been to continue with daily routines as much as possible to decrease anxiety. Exercise and outside activities such as walks in the neighborhood, the beach, and in the park for fresh air and Vitamin D, to boost mood and immune systems has been encouraged. Holidays and Participant birthdays are celebrated at the programs, in a different way than before Covid-19. Participants take an active role in choosing the special holiday meal, creating activities for the holiday. One of the programs decided to send out Valentine cards and a sweet treat to all their friends at the other programs.
Here are a few highlights of the special moments of the pandemic altered activities:
Halloween - Office staff dressed up and visited all programs delivering treats.
Virtual Dance Party Challenges.
Virtual Singing with friends via Microsoft Teams.
Easter - Staff dressed up like the Easter Bunny and danced with the participants.
Fourth of July - special cookout at individual programs.
Crossword puzzles, word searches, Art pages, Rock painting and art pages.
The staff and participants were educated on the proper use of masks, social distancing, cleaning and sanitizing of high touch services, hand washing and the proper use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
The following safety measures are implemented to prevent the spread of the virus among staffs and participant.
Hand washing is encouraged after using the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing or sneezing into hands. You can also use the hand sanitizers located around the program.
Cough and sneeze into the sleeve, preferably into the elbow. If a tissue is used, discard it properly, sanitize hands and disinfection air with disinfectant spray immediately.
Open the windows regularly to ensure uninterrupted ventilation.
Avoid face touching especially the eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent getting infected with the virus.
If coughing or sneezing more frequently than usual, avoid close physical contact with coworkers and take extra precautionary measures such as requesting a sick leave to get tested and ensure the safety of others.