When the COVID-19 situation became very serious, requiring divisive action by federal, state and local governments in America and elsewhere, we had to adjust how we conduct business. Theaters closed, churches and other houses of worship went virtual, retailers guided and controlled traffic and restaurants went 100% delivery and take-out. The adult day care program – providing a therapeutic, clinical, rehabilitative and social option for vulnerable adults – had to shut down.
This was surely logical. These centers serve the most medically vulnerable among us and with a contagious virus floating around that could be transmitted person to person, operators could not take the risk. Accordingly, governments moved to shut these centers down.
Well the virus is still around and remains a serious concern, regardless of those who choose to deny or ignore it. Listening to a news anchor in his 40’s recently who has tested negative for months after contracting the coronavirus in the spring talk about his brain fogs, bouts of depression and pulmonary issues that are all tied to COVID-19, its easy to see how serious this is. Reference Article…
The closures are tough. Why? Many families who previously relied upon the adult day care have likely made other arrangements since a closure, and at the time of your reopening may not decide to use the center again. In some communities the bootleg principle exists. This means some have opened their private homes to small groups of seniors and those with physical handicaps and provide some form of day services in these often unregulated residential settings.
Is there a roadmap for survival? Well nothing is perfect, but perhaps these suggestions will help:
- Maintain communication during your shutdown with families of those you serve. A weekly or biweekly newsletter is an ideal way to do that. A video newsletter/update is even better considering the attention that media items receive compared to the printed page.
- Take advantage of any arrangements your local or state government allows you to make for center users. This might be meal delivery, transitioning to in-home care or some level of regular in-home checks. This keeps the relationship alive.
- Be sure the sanitation standards in your center are maintained based upon CDC recommendations. This should apply now and even more so once the center reopens. Discuss this with photography in your printed newsletters and highlight it in your videos.
- Pursue any government relief, including local grants and forgivable loans, to keep your team involved while the nation deals with this pandemic.
- When reopening follow all newly published guidelines and recommendations for daily operations. This includes usage of masks, daily disinfecting, distancing among program participants, food handling,
- Pursue any available and beneficial forgivable loans and grants from governments on all levels. To the extent you can keep your team active to that extent you can maintain a level of service continuity
We believe adult day care can survive COVID-19 but its not automatic.
Another Blog Post by Direct Care Training & Resource Center, Inc.