Open Letter to Our Residential Families

March 24, 2020
InVision News

In light of the unprecedented and uncertain times facing all of us, InVision Human Services has taken several measures to ensure the well-being of the people we support, our employees, and communities. Given the nature of our work—which at its very core is to protect the health and safety of those we serve—we are striving to do all we can to meet those obligations and minimize the risk for everyone involved, but especially our dedicated Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and the people they support.

As the numbers of those affected in the United States grow exponentially, our response and planning changes and rises to the next level of implementation. We are taking the recommendations and pleas of public health officials very seriously and are committed to doing our part as an organization to help “flatten the curve.” Our health system is not equipped to handle the rate of critical cases they expect to emerge in the upcoming days and weeks. Medical and government officials have asked people to limit gatherings to less than 10 people and to maintain a distance of at least six feet between them. Below are the steps we have taken that will soon be implemented to help protect the people we support, our staff, and the community at large.

Animated graph courtesy of Newsweek.

Office closure

Our offices are officially closed. The only people present in the office are essential employees who are continuing critical business functions. We are asking all staff and individuals supported to please refrain from coming to the office unless authorized to do so by a manager.

  • If any DSPs are authorized to come to the office to pick up supplies, InVision staff will have everything prepared in advance and placed in a box/bag in the lobby for easy retrieval.
  • Large prepaid, self-addressed envelopes will be mailed to each residential location to use as needed to mail items to the office. Should anyone need to come to the office to drop something off, there are drop boxes located outside of each location, Wexford and Reading. There is an office employee assigned to check the box daily and will ensure the contents are routed (either electronically or hard copy) to the appropriate people.

Grocery shopping

As early as next week, we will implement a new process to drastically reduce the need for our DSPs and people we support to go to the grocery store. Based upon availability, either home delivery or curbside pickup will be used for the purchasing of routine groceries and household supplies. We have also purchased certain non-perishable items that can be distributed to homes if they become depleted.

Essential outings

As stated above, we are committed to flattening the curve and practicing social distancing. As such, we are asking DSPs and the people we support to adopt a “shelter-in-place” mindset. These actions have been enacted in certain California communities and across the globe. New York City is planning to follow suit as it is a highly effective method to minimize the chance for exposure to and spread of the virus. We ask that only essential outings occur. Essential outings are defined as picking up groceries if needed and going to critical medical appointments. We are aware that this will take a toll on the people we support and those who support them so, as of this writing, we still encourage walks in the community (while avoiding interaction with others), car rides, and the occasional take-out meal run. We are requesting that other outings and visits be postponed at this time.

This animated visual demonstrates how social distancing works to reduce the spread of illnesses.

Our Program Supervisors and Behavioral Specialists are working with individual teams to develop a list of resources and activities to help reduce “cabin fever.”  We will soon compile a list of resources for your use and post them in a central location.

Visitors to our residences

In addition to implementing social distancing, we are asking DSPs and the people we support to minimize the number of visitors to their homes. We realize that this is a tremendous sacrifice for them, as well as for our DSPs, but we believe that it is necessary to avoid the risk of exposure to the virus. If a visit to your family member is necessary, please contact the home prior to your arrival and take all of the recommended steps as outlined by the CDC such as washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, avoiding touching your face, and coughing or sneezing into your elbow. If you are sick, please stay home.

InVision Behavioral Health

InVision Behavioral Health (IBH) responds to the needs of the people we support regarding psychotherapy, assessment, and consultation, as well as offering strategies for medication management. Staffed with licensed nursing professionals, social workers, and psychologists, IBH provides a service system that meets the unique needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Please contact IBH if you are concerned about psychiatric hospitalization—especially under the current situation—believe that the person you support is in need of a session, or you would like consultation as to strategies or interventions you want to implement.

You can email Dr. Michael Greisler at mgreisler@invisionhs.org or Darnell Davis at ddavis@invisionhs.org. You can also contact IBH by telephone at 724-933-2961. Someone from IBH will contact you as soon as possible.

If you feel that you are in an emergency situation, please contact your local crisis center or call 911.

IBH is also available to InVision staff dealing with stress or anxiety, especially as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We continue to monitor the situation very closely, and we will update our plans as necessary. InVision is committed to operating during this time of uncertainty and continuing to provide services to those in need.

Aaron Borchert

Director, Marketing & Communications

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