Over a year ago, The Arc Gloucester was forced to shutter it's Day Habilitation Programs for the safety of our served individuals and staff. COVID-19 was raging, and there was much uncertainty in the world. What remained certain, though, was The Arc Gloucester's commitment to re-open as soon as it was safely possible to do so.
During our closure, we provided programming through our Virtual Programming and made updates to our facilities to ensure the best return possible. Together with Executive Leadership, Matthew Brady, Managing Director of Vocational Services, readied his team to open at the earliest possible moment.
To gain a better understanding of what this re-opening looks like, we asked Matt to answer a few questions for us! Read on to get the scoop.
1. How has The Arc Gloucester prepared for re-opening Day Habilitation Programs?
The Arc Gloucester conducted extensive analysis and preparation to make the Day Program re-opening a success, while also prioritizing the safety of our participants and staff. All of the facilities have been stocked with CDC approved cleaning supplies and PPE. The staff have been extensively trained on caring for our individuals while also promoting safety during the pandemic. Our staff have the unique experience of having been repurposed to our Residential Program during the last year, giving them necessary experience in providing supports to our individuals while keeping themselves and the individuals safe.
2. What safety protocols has The Arc Gloucester put into place for controlling/minimizing COVID-19 spread? How will my loved one be protected? How will staff be protected?
The participants have been limited in each facility to the maximum amount possible while remaining safe and socially distanced. The re-opening plan is different for each program based on the physical set up of the room, the staffing, and the participants that are returning. The participants that have returned have been designated into groupings that do not change. Each group has their own designated room where they receive all programming, including lunch, during the day. Staff members have been assigned to each grouping. The group limit is determined by the size of the room but is typically between 5-7 participants. There are currently no visitors allowed in the building. Participants are met at the vehicles by staff, medically screened for entry (including temperature), and escorted to their group. The goal is to limit the number of people each participant is exposed to through, social distancing, grouping, and no visitation. The program’s frequently touched surfaces are cleaned throughout the day, and extensively cleaned at the days end.
3. What can my loved one expect throughout the day at his/her Day Habilitation Center?
The participants are met at the vehicle or doorway (depending on the site). They are screened prior to entry, then escorted to their designated room. The staff provide choices of activities to take part in throughout the day. We are also continuing to provide 10 hours a week of our virtual programming to continue to promote socialization between the groups while also providing the participants with the classes they have come to enjoy. The participants at the programs are given the choice to join the classes when they are scheduled.
4. What will be different for my loved one about a day at their Day Habilitation Center?
The major difference for our Day Hab participants will be the groupings and the designated rooms. Under normal circumstances the participants are encouraged to socialize with everyone in the building. In an effort to reduce potential exposure, the participants will be encouraged to only socialize in their designated groups.
As the world becomes safer, and social distancing is not required, our programs will have an emphasis on trips into the community for social activities, opportunities for learning and advancing independence, and volunteering. With the virtual programming used to continue to cultivate socialization between the different programs, we will be scheduling joint activities between various programs, which will include trips to sites and events as well as BBQ’s in the park.
5. What will remain the same about a day at Day Hab?
The participants will still enjoy a variety of activities throughout the day. They are still provided choices to take part in different activities throughout the day. A focus of the Day Hab programs will be to increase the level of independence for the participants. The first 30 days will be used to re-assess the individuals, to find their base line and what activities of daily living they need help with. The assessments will be analyzed, and achievable outcomes will be created for the staff to work on with each participant. These outcomes will be personalized, and the participants will be asked to provide input on what areas they want to work on.
6. Will my loved one be required to wear a mask at all times?
The staff are required to wear a mask at all times. The participants are encouraged to wear masks if tolerated. Participants are especially encouraged to wear their masks during times that staff are working in their personal space, assisting with more intimate needs.
7. Can you explain what the CALI report is? And, In the event of a change in the CALI report, how has The Arc Gloucester prepared to quickly pivot to the updated safety recommendations?
The CALI report comes out every Thursday. It measures the COVID-19 activity level for each region in the state. There are four levels, Low, Moderate, High, and Very High. Currently NJ is Moderate and the numbers are trending down. At Moderate and High levels, our state guidance remains the same at 50% capacity. At low levels, the guidance allows us to open up at 100% capacity. At Very High level the capacity reduces to 25%. The Arc Gloucester has further determined that if our COVID-19 activity level reaches Very High, the programs would close for at least two weeks to assess the risks of keeping programs open.
If you have any questions about the return to Day Habilitation Programming, please call 856-848-8648 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.