To preserve the welfare of the individuals we support and employees, the following immediate actions have become necessary in our ISL homes. These are in alignment with other measures the local, state, and federal governments are taking in these extraordinary times. These procedures are effective Wednesday, March 18.
One of the most effective measures that can be taken to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus is social distancing: avoiding crowds in closed spaces; non-touching; and keeping a physical distance of 6 feet from others.
Effective now, we have elected to stop all in-person visits from family, guardians, attorneys, clergy, and others who wish to visit people who live at one of our supported homes through April 20. We encourage all non-essential visitors to make other arrangements for alternative means of communication. This might include telephones, Skype, Face Time, or other teleconferencing means. Keeping in contact with family and friends will be important for some of the individuals we support during this stressful time.
Resident Trips Outside of the Homes
Except for medically necessary emergent and specialty care, trips out of the homes will be suspended through the end of April, or until we receive additional guidance from the Missouri Department of Mental Health and CDC. This includes outings with family or visits related to possible community transitions. Employees accompanying individuals into the community should report any suspicions of viral exposure to their supervisor upon return.
Residents will cease attending Day Programs and Workshops effective Wednesday, March 18th, until further notice.
Residents Working Outside of the Facility
The status of individuals working outside of the facility should be reviewed by team leadership to determine if continuation should be allowed. Residents who continue work assignments outside of the home should travel directly to and from work, immediately report any suspicion of viral exposure to the team and should have a health screening daily. However, it is advisable that if their employer allows, a leave of absence should be obtained through the end of April or until we receive additional guidance from the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) or the CDC.
Any employee who presents symptoms of COVID-19 (new cough and/or fever of 100.4 or greater) will not be permitted to enter the home and may only return to work with a statement from a physician that indicates they do not have, or are not contagious with, COVID-19. Employees will take temperatures upon beginning a shift to assure that no one enters the home with a fever. Any employee who develops symptoms outside of the time he or she was screened must report those immediately to their supervisor.
All persons residing in an ISL home will be daily, and as necessary, assessed for symptoms of COVID-19. Any person residing in an ISL home, who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 shall be isolated until it is determined by the physician that the person ma be removed from isolation. Testing for COVID-19 will be included in the decision.
Any person who resides in an ISL home who tests positive for Covid-19 will be isolated in accordance authoritative instruction from DHSS and CDC until it is determined that they are no longer contagious and can provide such documentation from a doctor.
Clients Choosing to Leave for Community/Family Visits or Traveling:
If you choose to take your loved one out of the group home for a community or family visit, please plan accordingly to support them for an unknown period of time as they will be unable to return to the group home during the enforcement of these safeguards due to their potential exposure and subsequent transmission to their housemates and caregivers.
If you choose to take your loved one out of the residential home to travel for vacation, you may be required to support their self-quarantine in your home for a period of 14 days after your return to the Kansas City or St. Louis area, as well as, support them at your family home for an unknown period of time during the enforcement of these safeguards as they will not be allowed to return to their ISL Home.
While our Employees Members remain dedicated to Community Choice and our valued clients, it is important to recognize we will likely experience significant employee challenges during this time. Many schools and day care facilities are considering closures or have already done so, which will present a challenge for many of our employees with children. In addition, some employees and their family members may become sick, creating a lengthy quarantine period where they will be unable to come to work. We ask for your understanding and patience as we address this evolving health crisis.
We realize that these measures may seem drastic, and we recognize that they may not be perfect, but please know that we are doing everything we can to reduce the chances of exposing your loved ones to this new health threat and flatten the lifecycle curve of this virus in our community. As we indicated above, we will be reviewing the developing situation daily and will communicate with you as frequently as is necessary to keep you informed of any changes or additions to these temporary policies. Please feel free to reach out to the appropriate member of our Management and Administrative team with any questions or concerns you may have.
We appreciate the patience of employees and the people we serve as we take these essential steps. Given the volatility of events surrounding COVID-19, this directive will be subject to continual review.