It has been nearly 6 weeks since my last message, and I wanted to take a moment to share some updates with you. I am happy to report that nearly 95% of our clients have been fully vaccinated and are COVID free. Currently, only 30% of our team members elected to receive the vaccine. We continue to experience positive cases of COVID among both employees and clients.
The COVID response team meets weekly to discuss additional ways to allow our clients to safely resume additional activities. Following are the team’s most recent decisions:
Family visits may resume in the client homes beginning Monday, March 15th. All visits must be
scheduled by contacting the manager at least 24 hours in advance. Visitors are required to wear a face mask even if they have received the COVID vaccine. For at least the next 30 days, visits in the home will be limited to 2 hours, and only 2-3 guests are allowed at a time. We urge all
visitors to take their temperature prior to visiting. If you are not feeling well or are exhibiting any
symptoms including fever, body aches, etc., please reschedule your visit. Some homes may be
under quarantine and are unavailable for in-person visits.
As we shared in February, some of you have asked about the number of people in the home that
have received the vaccine or who in the home has not been vaccinated. This information is
protected by HIPPA and we will not share this information with clients, guardians, or anyone who
is not considered one who “needs to know” under the law. Our team members, vaccinated or
not, are continuing to use the precautions outlined by the CDC to protect your love one.
This has been an incredibly challenging year for everyone, but especially our team members who
work in the homes with your loved ones. Because of our critical staffing shortage, many of our
employees work overtime and spend long hours away from their own friends and families.
Please be kinder than necessary when visiting your loved ones and take a moment to thank their
team for their hard work.
Restricting outside visits for more than a year also means our facilities team has only been in the
homes for emergency repairs. We are currently conducting an environmental review of all our
homes and will be making necessary repairs over the coming months. If you have specific
concerns, please share them with the manager. Please be patient as we prioritize these repairs.
Client Visits to Other Homes
We know that our clients miss their friends and family members. Clients may begin visiting their
friends in other client homes, if a limited number of people are present during the visit. We
recommend groups of 12 people or less. We encourage these visits to be held outside, weather permitting, or that friends gather at a local park or a restaurant. Clients are encouraged to wear
PPE if possible and continue social distancing.
The Department of Mental Health will be requiring case managers to make in person visits to
homes beginning April 1st. We will be cooperating with case managers but are also encouraging
them to limit the time they spend in the home and visit outdoors when possible. We are
encouraging ISP meetings to continue remotely and will not be hosting these meetings in the
home or at our corporate office.
Day Programs & Employment
- Clients may resume day programs and employment at the recommendation of their ISP team. In earlier conversations with these partners, we recognize that many may not be ready for our clients to return, due to their own staffing issues. Also, a return to these activities may require an amended staffing pattern and schedule for our staff, which could require additional time to hire new team members. Therefore, it may be several weeks before these activities will resume.
We are resuming community activities that are safe for our clients and I am sure they have many places they want to visit! This may include things like shopping, indoor dining, and recreation. Clients who have not received the vaccination will also be allowed to return to community activities. We will begin these activities slowly and ask that you consult with your supervisor regarding the activity to ensure we are considering the safety of the environment. This could be as simple as a conversation at a team meeting rather than approval of each individual activity. Our commitment is to ensure we are making good choices and frequenting businesses and venues during off-peak hours, that are also adhering to CDC guidelines.
- Many of our clients have accumulated significant financial resources during the pandemic. We are encouraging our clients to consider traveling to get a little bit of respite after this extended time at home. At this time, only car travel is recommended. Air travel will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the COVID Team. We are also aware Camp Wonderland, a beloved tradition for many of our clients, has re-opened. Camp Wonderland will give top priority to clients who have been vaccinated.
Visits By the Emmaus Team
- We will begin to resume visits by Emmaus team members including our Client Service Directors, Nurses, Chaplains and Facilities Team based upon the specific needs of the home or client. Those visiting the homes will be required to use the same precautions as other team members working in the home.
We understand that while some of these decisions may be frustrating, they were made with an abundance of caution to continue to protect the lives of our clients and staff. On behalf of everyone at Emmaus – our clients, team members and Board of Directors – please know the tremendous gratitude we feel for your prayers, donations and delivery of critical supplies. Without your support, we could not continue our important work.
Thank you for the continued prayers, encouraging messages and unwavering support of our mission.
View the Recent Family Letter
Tomorrow will mark the one-year anniversary since our COVID team first came together and made many difficult decisions, including restricting all visits with your loved ones. This has been a difficult year for everyone including you, your loved ones, and our Emmaus team. However, because of the incredible commitment by our team members to ensure the continued health and safety of our clients, we have persevered. We are thankful that their work helped to mitigate the impact of the virus.
The below is being updated on a daily basis based on changing and new information.
Bible Study and Worship Services are currently being offered virtually on a regular basis.
EmmausLink activities are cancelled until further notice. More updates will be coming soon.
As we begin to lift restrictions, decisions are to be made on an individual basis.
Work & Day Programs
Clients may resume day programs and employment at the recommendation of their ISP team.
- Pastor Cindy and Pastor Andrea have pre-recorded worship services that are available on the Emmaus Connection & YouTube
Emmaus Direct Support Staff
To ensure the continued safety of our clients and our staff, we are making schedule changes to minimize the number of people working in the home. We believe it is in the best interest of our clients to have fewer people in the home. Fewer people in the home reduces opportunities for exposure.
As we continue to face the COVID-19 pandemic, our recruiting team is right along with you! We continue to hire and train Direct Support Professionals. Read More about Virtual Hiring
Team Members who specifically are expired in Physical Skills Training (a live, in person training in the office, in which you practice the techniques) will NOT be able to utilize side-body hug support or restraint-1 or 2 person, one-arm standing support or restraint, 2-person restraint, wrist/clothing/finger/bite releases, the turn-step, staff being pushed/pulled slide step technique, escort/walking with accompaniment, and hair pull techniques until they have renewed their training.
- In-person CPR/FA skills training in small groups, using social distancing and universal precautions will continue as scheduled.
- We are extending the deadline for obtaining a Class E license. This extension will continue until further notice.
- For now, we are lifting the restriction that you must have a Class E to drive a client, until further notice.
- New employees will continue to receive van training as part of the 45 day checklist in the home.