March 12, 2020
In addition to being overwhelmed by the scope and seriousness of the Coronavirus – 19 Pandemic; we now find ourselves inundated with resources, and links to current information, questions and proposals for meeting one or more of the needs. The fact that resources are available is wonderful, but it can also become like white noise in the background.
I spent a bit of time to try to envision, in my mind, how to better organize our approach and to silence the noise. These are my thoughts:
“While the CDC recommends certain precautions for all people, such as washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, you may also consider adopting measures beyond the standard guidelines if you support people whose immune systems are compromised and/or those who are older. And, above all, the protocols you adopt should be tailored to the needs of the people you support and the situation in your local community.
Finally, it’s important to remember that when the news media and public health officials call for the quarantine of “vulnerable” individuals, not all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are vulnerable. They are, however, more likely to be negatively impacted by the long-term isolation that comes with being quarantined, and providers should therefore weigh the impacts of supporting people where they live against the impacts of long-term quarantines that keep people away from the natural supports that come from their communities.”
- There are three categories of issues/concerns, all are important, but we would place them in this order –
- The individuals we support
- The staff who support them
- The businesses we operate
- For each of those categories, we need to determine the risks – some are obvious, but others are a bit more nuanced. For example, as Barbara Merrill the Executive Director of ANCOR wisely said yesterday:
- And lastly we need to examine the “rules” that we live by and assess which can/should be modified, and which are absolutes –
- Relief will come, we hope very soon, with the elimination of some of the requirements that involve “visits” to residential or day sites – some routine visits are already being postponed.
- We heard, as did the nation, that the President is requesting Congressional approval for a variety of measures to assist worker’s; those measures will not eliminate the risk of illness, nor will they replace the paycheck lost if they are ill or the program closes, but we are working with all of our colleagues to try to mitigate some of the damage.
We will continue to work with all of our partners; please continue to email your questions and your strategies – they help inform our discussions! Putting this down has helped me organize my thoughts, I hope reading it has helped you do the same!