Dear CLBC Service Providers –
We continue to hear from many service providers who we know are doing their best to keep individuals, families and staff safe. We are also hearing from families and caregivers that may be impacted by decisions about continuing services. We recognize decisions are not always easy to make and would like to provide further information that may guide you.
The question, “Should service providers continue to provide day services in their current configuration or not in light of COVID-19?” does not have a one-size fits all answer.
The top consideration should be keeping both individuals and staff safe and healthy over the next months. To do our best at this, we need to follow the advice of our public health officials.
CLBC expects that service providers, no matter the service, take the precautions as advised by public health officials and experts to keep people safe. These include ensuring extra cleaning and sanitation of facilities and communicating through messages and posters the advice to stay home if sick, regularly wash hands, do not touch your face, cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing and practicing social distancing. Please continue to refer to guidance on the BC Centre for Disease Control web site here.
Wherever possible, services have a duty to assist individuals to understand the situation, what the risks are and what they need to do to protect themselves.
So what are other factors service providers should consider around continuing services?
Health officials have told us today that where possible we should continue social services in a way that minimizes transmission and minimizes pushing the burden to other social services. They have said that supported individuals at higher risk for severe disease and individuals who may have challenges complying with the preventative practices above should try to stay away from crowds or areas of potential transmission.
Many individuals may have chronic health conditions and have health care plans as established by their doctors and other health care professionals who support them. These plans should be followed in combination with broad health messaging.
Where service providers operate services that result in congregation, or people coming together in numbers, it may make sense to alter the service to employ “social distancing” to help keep people safe and prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
In other situations where there is less congregation, once the provider has taken recommended precautions, service may be able to continue operation.
Where a service provider needs to change the delivery of services to reduce congregation and reduce risk to individuals or staff and do their part to prevent transmission by implementing social distancing, CLBC expects the following of service providers:
- Assess the impact of the change on the individuals being served, as well as on their caregivers – whether they be a family, a home sharing provider or a home provided through staffed residential services. This consideration means communication with all of the impacted caregivers to discuss plans and implications. Consider the impact of the change as well as the impact of not changing services.
- Redeploy resources to assist caregivers by serving individuals in or out of their homes. In some instances, caregivers may require minimal supports. In other instances, where individuals require significant supports or where a change may be difficult for them to understand or adapt to, the caregivers may require much more support.
- If service providers plan to change the configuration of a service to keep people safe and prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus, they can discuss any implementation concerns or challenges with their CLBC Analyst.
Thank you for your ongoing efforts to make decisions that will continue to put the ongoing health and well-being of individuals as our top priority.
CLBC is working on a range of other questions and hopes to provide further information soon on topics that include supporting home sharing providers and helping to access medical supplies.
I am also taking the opportunity to attach a pandemic planning checklist which you can access here to support you in your ongoing planning.
Community Living BC