Last Update – 4/6/20 @ 5:00 PM
Springbrook Staff Resources
The updates to the left are blog posts with our responses to the most current information available at the time. To avoid contradictory information, only the three most recent updates are posted, though the entire thread can be found here.
Springbrook Staff Resources
The updates above are blog posts with our responses to the most current information available at the time. To avoid contradictory information, only the three most recent updates are posted, though the entire thread can be found here.
Health officials, including Springbrook’s clinical team, are monitoring the status and spread of COVID-19 on a daily basis. We have assembled some FAQs, along with both internal and external resources below to share Springbrook’s response to this developing situation.
COVID-19 spreads from person to person. The best means of prevention is to reduce exposure and promote sanitary practices. We ask for your understanding, compassion for loved one and the loved ones of others, and above all, cooperation, as we implement the following health precautions. Click the titles below for information about these proactive steps we are taking to slow the spread of the virus:
There have been zero COVID-19 cases associated with Springbrook, and we would like to keep it that way as long as possible. We are approaching this virus as a threat worthy of serious attention. The following program delivery changes and updates are proactive measures meant to reduce exposure, protecting our staff, and the people we support. Springbrook’s clinical and administrative teams are monitoring the status and spread of COVID-19 daily and updating protocols regularly.
Home Unit Staffing
Employees in Direct Support roles are critical to the health, safety, and well-being of the people we support. The following updates to Springbrook’s staffing procedure are effective immediately:
- All direct support employees are assigned to work in only one home
- Direct support staff may not work in any location outside of the designated home unit, regardless of extenuating circumstances
- Managers may not assign employees to any home outside of the home unit assigned initially, regardless of extenuating staffing needs
- Effective immediately, Springbrook’s CEO or COO will remain on-call (in addition to the assigned AOC), to support management decisions regarding staff minimums that may adversely affect the health and safety of any Springbrook resident
- To support these residential home units in the most effective and safest way possible, a team of support staff have been assigned directly to each residence
- Support staff include education/therapy staff via phone or zoom, departmental administration (also via phone or zoom), and maintenance staff
- Facilities/maintenance staff have limited interior maintenance for Springbrook residences to issues of Life Safety and conditions of peril.
This “home unit” approach to staffing will reduce exposure for the people we support and our entire team while ensuring we can continue to do the amazing work we love.
Beginning on Monday, March 16, Springbrook will be delivering Day Habilitation supports, including limited therapy services, in our Community Homes. The relocation of Day Habilitation programming will be in effect for two weeks, beginning after the close of business (5 pm) on Friday, March 13.
THE SCHOOL AT SPRINGBROOK
With the rapid development of the COVID-19 virus, Otsego and many surrounding counties have declared States of Emergency. Per these measures and Governer Cuomo’s closure of schools across the state, The School at Springbrook has taken several preventative steps to reduce large group settings.
- Beginning on Wednesday, March 11, Springbrook restricted visitation to emergency or essential visits to campuses and homes.
- Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, Springbrook began delivering educational programming, including therapy services, in our on-campus residences. The relocation of educational programming will be in effect for two weeks, beginning after the close of school on Friday, March 13.
- Beginning on Tuesday, March 17, Springbrook suspended all-day student program delivery for students who reside in districts that are closed.
- This decision follows state and local mandates and our organization-wide visitation suspension and will remain in effect as long as school districts remain closed.
- This temporary suspension includes all Day Students, including those who are self-transported.
If you have questions, please contact The School at Springbrook at (607) 286-7171, Ext. 378 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.
For residents of Springbrook’s Community Homes who use day program services outside of Springbrook, all transportation and participation of external day programs are temporarily suspended. This temporary suspicion will be in effect for two weeks from the close of business (5 pm) on Friday, March 13.
If you have questions regarding this Community Homes program update, please contact Springbrook at (607) 353-7272, Ext. 2500 or email@example.com, Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.
KIDS UNLIMITED PRESCHOOL
Otsego and many surrounding counties have declared States of Emergency. Per these measures and Governer Cuomo’s closure of schools across the state, beginning on Wednesday, March 18, Kids Unlimited Preschool will be suspending the Special Education program for students who reside in districts that are closed. This decision follows state and local mandates, and our Springbrook-wide organizational protocols. This temporary suspension includes all Special Education students, including those who are self-transported. Kids Unlimited Preschool will remain open for currently enrolled daycare students. We have taken preventative steps to ensure that daycare students stay in settings of fewer than ten people, as outlined in federal guidelines. The suspension will remain in effect as long as school districts remain closed.
SELF-DIRECTED SERVICES/HCBS SERVICES
There are no program changes to Springbrook’s SDS or HCBS services. We have issued recommendations to Springbrook SDS/HCBS staff regarding prevention and suspended the use of crowded indoor spaces like malls and movie theaters for delivery of services. We will issue program changes if needed based on Springbrook’s assessment of the COVID-19 situation and guidance we receive from local, state, and federal oversight organizations.
If you have questions regarding Springbrook Community Services, please contact Springbrook at (607) 353-7272, Ext. 2500 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.
Decreasing Community Exposure
The most effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19 is to reduce external exposure to program participants.
- In support of social distancing precautions, Springbrook facilities will be limiting interior maintenance for our residences to issues of Life Safety and conditions of peril.
Visitations and Meetings
Effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020
- Until further notice, visitation to all Springbrook facilities (residences, offices, and campuses) is suspended except for when medically or clinically necessary (i.e., the visitor is essential to the care of a resident).
- Springbrook will continue to use screening protocols recommended by the Department of Health to ensure risks are identified and minimized for any emergency or essential visits.
- Springbrook will continue to facilitate non-essential remote visits using phone calls, video calls, and teleconferencing.
- Until further notice, visits home for all residents of Springbrook homes are suspended.
Should a parent/family decide to take a loved one home, they must agree to keep their loved one home until all visitation limits are lifted.
Community trips and visits to crowded indoor spaces, like malls and movie theaters, are temporarily suspended.
- This travel suspension includes all Springbrook-facilitated drop-off/pick-up bus and van trips.
- All employees should follow all travel guidelines and warnings put forth by the CDC. There should be no international travel.
- Springbrook strongly recommends the following travel restrictions:
- Employees should avoid all unnecessary travel within our region, the state, or the US.
- Employees should only commute between their home and work location, or to access essential services like grocery stores or pharmacies
- If a Springbrook employee travels either internationally or to any noted hotspot within New York State or the United States, the employee is required to report their travel to their supervisor.
- Before returning to work, the employee will be assessed by their supervisor using Springbrook’s Return to Work Procedure.
- Based on the Return to Work assessment, the employee may not be permitted to return to work until completing a mandatory 14-day self-isolation.
- If self-isolation is required, it will be unpaid (the employee may use PTO if they have it).
- Springbrook management will use the most up-to-date hotspot listings from the CDC and New York State Department of Health.
- Noted hotspots change daily and are found throughout the state. Staying as close to home as possible is the best way to avoid hotspots.
Unnecessary travel at this time is irresponsible and increases the possibility of exposure to other staff members as well as residents from the Community Homes Program and students at The School at Springbrook.
As per guidance from the US Surgeon General, we are cancelling and rescheduling all non-essential medical appointments for residents.
Cleaning and Sanitizing
- We are reinforcing handwashing and use of hand sanitizer across all program and office locations.
- We have increased our already rigorous standard cleaning process within residences, program areas, and common-use spaces.
- We have centralized the distribution of essential cleaning supplies to ensure we retain ample stock for as long as possible.
Springbrook managers are monitoring all residents and employees daily for fever and cough. Additionally, the following is in place for staff to follow:
STAFF HEALTH MONITORING & EXPOSURE REDUCTION
Upon arrival for a shift, all staff must complete the following Health Monitoring & Exposure Reduction Check-In Procedure. The layout of each Springbrook home is different. Below is Springbrook’s organization-wide recommended sequence for the required check-in procedure.
- Complete the current health monitoring procedure using the Staff Symptom Log
- Staff Name
- Time In
- Yes/No – Symptoms of Respiratory Illness
- Heart Rate
- Yes/No – 10-20 Respirations per minute
- Time Out
- If all vitals on the Symptom Log are normal:
- Immediately and thoroughly wash hands for a minimum of 20 secs
- Put on a face mask
- Thoroughly rewash hands after putting on a mask, before reporting for duties
- Keep your assigned face mask on for entire work shift
- If vitals are NOT normal, inform your manager and immediately go home.
- Each Springbrook home will have its own SPECIFIC sequence of these required check-in procedures. Be sure you know your home unit’s specific sequence.
We will announce cancelled/ammended event dates here and through our social media channels.
March 11 – All Special Olympics NY events and practices have been suspended out of an abundance of caution statewide. This includes the Springbrook Basketball Invitational, previously scheduled for March 21. Read more here.
March 18 – Campus-Wide Dinner – Recreation Therapy/Laurie Spicer
March 21 – Springbrook Basketball Invitational
March 23 – HCBS Lunch and Crafts
March 24 – Red Cross Blood Drive
March 25 – HCBS Lunch and Activities
March 25 – Campus-Wide Dinner – Recreation Therapy/Laurie Spicer
March 26 – Financial & Legal Luncheon – Food for Thought Series
March 28 – Special Olympics Basketball Family Dinner
March 30 – HCBS Lunch and Activities
When are These Precautions going into effect?
These measures are already in effect, and we will update these protocols as guidance is provided from the oversight organizations who govern our daily operation.
Springbrook Contact Information
We have established a hotline to address questions and concerns; 607-386-4882. Please leave a voicemail with your name, question, and contact details so we can get match your inquiry to the correct Springbrook resource.
Alternatively, emails with questions/concerns can be sent to email@example.com.
What is COVID-19?
A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illness, like the common cold. A diagnosis with coronavirus 229E, NL63, OC43, or HKU1 is not the same as a COVID-19 diagnosis. Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis. The World Health Organization declared the disease a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
COVID-19 spreads from person to person. The best means of prevention is to reduce your exposure to other people. We ask for your understanding, compassion for the people you support and your fellow employees, and above all, cooperation, as we issue the following Social Distancing health precautions.
PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING WHILE NOT AT WORK
- Stay at least six feet away from other people when in public, at the store, anywhere outside of your home
- Avoid going to stores, etc. unless it is absolutely necessary
- Go outside!
- When you do go outside, do your best to maintain distance between you and anyone with whom you DO NOT share a living space
- If you have kids, try not to use public facilities like playground structures – if you do, wash hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds after use.
- If you must go into public for essential services, wear a mask (cloth/homemade is fine)
- Springbrook is working to procure enough cloth masks to provide one to every employee.
- Cloth masks do not offer the same level of protection from contracting COVID-19 as medical PPE. However, they can help people from unknowingly transmitting the virus if they are asymptomatic.
- Wearing a mask is also a great reminder not to touch your face.
- It is also important to remember that facial hair (especially beards) keeps all masks from providing the tightest seal possible.
- Stay connected through phone, video, or social media – social distancing is about physical separation, not social disconnection
- Every Springbrook employee is ESSENTIAL! Each member of this community ensures in their own significant way that we deliver on our mission. That is why we need to take care of ourselves, our families, and others in our shared community by practicing social distancing at all times—especially when you are not at work.
- The BEST way to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to minimize contact with other people
- When you practice social distancing, you reduce the chances of a Springbrook resident or student contracting the virus. Please, keep the people you support in mind when you consider your activities outside of work.
Your partnership as we respond to this illness is critical. Please, follow these preventative measures to help us to reduce risk to all of the people who we support and employ
Where can I get More Information About the National Response?
The CDC provides up-to-date information each weekday around noon. Visit their website for updates, including best practices to mitigate infection risk.
5 Steps to Prepare for COVID-19
Infectious disease experts say most cases of COVID-19 are mild to moderate, like the common cold. But it can be more severe in older adults and people with chronic health conditions. There are simple steps you can take to help protect yourself and your family.
1. Make a Plan
Create plans for school, work and home.
- Make a list of people and organizations who can help if you become sick. Consider: family, friends, neighbors, carpool drivers, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, health care services, and other resources like mental health services.
- Join a neighborhood website or social media page to stay connected to neighbors, information, and resources.
- Plan ways to care for family members at risk for serious complications, such as older people and people with chronic health conditions.
2. Prepare as you Would for a Winter Storm
There is no need to buy large quantities of supplies. But it’s a good idea to pick up a few extra items each time you go to the market or pharmacy. That way, you’re prepared and can avoid crowds.
- Pick up some extra foods like canned goods, dry pasta, and peanut butter.
- Have soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, fever reducers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen on hand.
3. Get ready for possible changes in daily schedules
Make plans to care for your children if schools are closed temporarily. Just like you would for snow days.
Make plans for alternate after-school care in case they are closed temporarily.
Ask to work from home or take leave if you or someone in your household gets sick, or if your child’s school is temporarily closed.
4. Stay informed
Stay connected on your state and local health department’s social media pages and websites for timely and accurate COVID-19 information.
Be aware of false information circulating on the internet. Accurate and up-to-date information is available from the State Health Department at www.health.ny.gov/coronavirus or its hotline at 1-888-364-3065, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website and social media platforms at www.cdc.gov/COVID19
If you live alone and become sick, you may need to ask for help. If you have a chronic disease and live alone, ask your friends, family, and health care providers to check on you.
- If you decide to attend a public event, practice good health habits.
- Try to keep at least 6 feet of distance between you and others at the event.
- Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.
- Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs and handrails.
5. Prevent the spread of colds, flu and COVID-19
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before you eat.
- Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard in a closed container.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Keep a distance of at least 6 feet to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
For people who are sick:
- Stay home.
- If you have a fever, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicines, such as acetaminophen.
- Keep sick household members away from others. If you have a separate room that is best.
- Use soap and water, a bleach and-water solution, or EPA-approved household products. You can make your own cleanser with a mixture of 1 cup of liquid unscented chlorine bleach in 5 gallons of water.
- Avoid sharing personal items.
- Anyone at high risk for complications should talk to their health care provider for more information.
Feeling Stressed About Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Managing Anxiety in an Anxiety-Provoking Situation
The NY Office of Mental Health has provided the following resource. The outbreak of COVID-19 around the world has led to the spread of fear and panic for individuals and communities. In addition to the following physical precautions guidelines, individuals should be taking care of their psychological well-being. This guide is designed for the populations oulined below:*Source
- Reduce anxiety by reducing risk. Ways to reduce risk include practicing good hygiene (e.g. sneezing and coughing into your elbow, sneezing into a tissue and immediately throwing the tissue away, wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, etc.). In addition, create a plan in case your regular routine is disrupted, such as setting up remote work and alternative childcare arrangements. Setting out a plan can help reduce anxiety by taking charge of the things you can control.
- Manage your information flow by choosing reliable sources and establish boundaries on checking for updates. Getting regular, factual information is important. However, continuously scrolling through social media or constantly refreshing the news is likely to lead to increased anxiety. Pick a few trusted news outlets – such as the state and local health authorities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or World Health Organization – and commit to checking once or twice a day for updates.
- Monitor your anxiety levels. Anxiety is a normal response to a stressful situation and can provide adaptive benefits in many situations. However, when faced with mounting uncertainty, your brain can go into an anxiety spiral that is no longer helpful. Knowing the difference between typical and atypical stress is important. Monitoring your stress level will let you know when you need to seek additional help.
- A typical stress reaction may include: temporary difficulty concentrating; irritability and anger; fatigue; stomachache; and, difficulty sleeping.
- An atypical stress reaction may include a persistent and/or excessive worry that doesn’t lift and keeps you from carrying out your daily tasks. If you experience significant changes in your energy level, eating patterns, or sleeping patterns, difficulty concentrating on normal tasks, prolonged and overwhelming worry and hopelessness, or thoughts of self-injury or suicide, seek out immediate help at 1- 800-273-TALK (8255) or text Got5 to 741741.
- Practice good self-care, including exercise, eating healthy foods, and sleeping an adequate amount at night. If possible, spend some time outside. Avoid staying up late to monitor the news.
- Virtually reach out to different types of support networks, such as family, friends, colleagues, faith-based communities, and social organizations to strengthen your overall feeling of connection. Isolation and loneliness feeds anxiety.
- Find meaningful tasks and roles within your support network to channel your anxiety, such as coordinating deliveries of groceries to those unable to leave home, curating kids’ activity ideas for parents working from home, or video calling or calling those who might feel socially isolated. Supporting others is beneficial to the supporter as well.
- Find or create spaces that are not focused on COVID-19. Start a social media thread about other topics, ask friends to discuss other topics, or watch your favorite TV or movie.
- Savor small positive moments, amplify positive stories, and stay optimistic. Try to cultivate a mental wellness practice, such as writing in a gratitude journal, or talking nightly with your family about moments during the day that were fun or enjoyable.
- Take an opportunity to practice mindfulness when managing anxiety. Mindfulness tools like grounding exercises, sensory modulation, and deep breathing may be helpful.
For Individuals Receiving Mental Health Services
- As soon as possible, work with your mental health provider on a coping plan. Think about helpful coping skills you can practice daily and be mindful to those coping skills that you may turn to that are otherwise harmful to your safety and well-being. For example, if you know that music, walking outside, reframing your thoughts, and connecting with others are helpful, think about ways you can incorporate those into your daily life. If you know that you might struggle with ruminating, self-injury, substance use, or other strategies that might be harmful to your safety and well-being, identify alternative coping methods with your provider. Write out a plan to help prepare you for heightened anxiety.
- Work with your mental health providers on specifically managing anxiety and ask them to help you come up with practical skills that you can rehearse.
- Work with your mental health providers on alternative options if your routine services are disrupted. These might include using telemental health services, getting prescription medication, or engaging in supplemental mental wellness activities.
- Seek positive peer support. Connect yourself to others who understand your experiences and can assist in problem-solving. If social distancing increases feelings of isolation, look into online peer supports or peer hotlines.
For Parents, Including Parents of Children with Pre-Existing Anxiety Disorders
- Think about and rehearse scripts for talking with your kids about COVID-19. Kids take cues from caregivers about how anxious they need to be about a topic. Seek out resources and media to assist in your preparation.
- Talk about the situation openly. Most kids elementary-aged and up have heard about COVID-19 or coronavirus. Avoiding the topic or providing blanket reassurances is more likely to feed anxiety. If kids bring up the topic, let them know you are glad they brought it up. This increased the likelihood that they will come to you with further anxieties or questions.
- Don’t give more information than is requested. Part of a developmentally appropriate approach is to answer the question your child asks, but not necessarily more than that. Check to make sure they understood your response by asking them to repeat back what they heard, and let them know you are open to more questions. Reassure your child that it is normal to feel scared or anxious.
- Help your school-aged child and adolescent set boundaries on their information flow in the same way you are setting your own boundaries. Help them identify factual sources of information and set appropriate intervals to check in. Encourage them to use their media literacy skills to question the messages they are getting from various information channels. Consider limiting media exposure or consuming media with your child so that you can be available to interpret and explain information.
- Keep as many routines intact as possible. For kids who may be out of school and/or have extra-curricular activities cancelled, it is helpful to keep other routines, like mealtimes and bedtimes. To the extent possible, for kids who are at home for longer periods of time, set up a structure. Collaborate with your child to come up with a loose schedule, such as an outdoor activity and lunch prep in the morning, and a movie and homework time in the afternoon.
- Find fun ways to maintain contact with individuals your child is separated from, such as elderly grandparents or classmates at school. Set up opportunities to maintain and even grow connections, such as reading a book to grandparents on video call or sending postcards to friends.
- Encourage physical activity and time outside, where possible. Both staying active and having opportunities to be in nature are helpful with mitigating anxiety and building resilience.
- Use this as an opportunity to teach distress tolerance skills that will be helpful to your kids in any situation. This is a great time to learn about purposeful breathing, guided imagery, distraction, and other skills.
For Caregivers of Elderly Individuals
- Facilitate ways for the individual to maintain social connections. As the elderly have been told to isolate as much as possible, it is likely that social isolation and loneliness may take a toll on physical and mental health. Set up and provide technological assistance for family and friends to stay connected to the individual. Consider coordinating a group of people to check in on a rotation so that the individual feels the support of a network.
- Encourage the individual to stay as active as possible, for both their physical and psychological well-being.
- Help the individual find ways where they can help others, such as calling others to check in on them or entertaining grandchildren on FaceTime. Having a purpose and role can reduce anxiety.
- Consider practical ways you can relieve an individual’s anxiety, such as volunteering to order their groceries online or offering to walk the individual’s dog(s).
- In a time of high anxiety, it may be hard for the individual to select reliable sources to get information and updates on COVID-19. Curate a list of reputable media and write them down for the individual.
- Practice self-care and be compassionate to yourself. While caregiving is a demanding and rewarding role at the best of times, being a caregiver during a time of heightened concerned is particularly stressful. If possible, find a way to take small breaks, rotate responsibilities with others, and practice your own mental health strategies.
For Mental Health Providers
- Place a priority on self-care, including getting adequate rest and exercise, eating healthy food, maintaining social connections, and taking time away from service provision as possible.
- Prepare for heightened anxiety in the individuals in your care and prepare your own toolkit on skills and scripts that might be helpful.
- Work with your colleagues to prepare back-up plans for crisis management, such as telemental health or alternate therapeutic arrangements, so that you are prepared if there is a disruption in services. Work with your supervisor and colleagues to rotate functions and cross-train as much as possible.
- Set up peer supports, such as peer supervision and consultation, to connect with others who are in a similar situation. Setting up spaces to discuss the toll of vicarious trauma and anxiety is an important part of self-care.
- Seek out professional help as needed. Remember that provision of mental health care during a crisis is challenging and it is critical that you address your own stress and anxiety.
Springbrook has been in contact with or follows advice from the following state and federal resources:
Social Seven – A Full Week of Ideas and Inspiration
Click the slider below to see some of the content we are creating to bring calm, comfort, and care to students, residents, staff, families, and our online community during this time of uncertainty. Click Here to see all the posts from Meditation Monday, Take a Look Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Thinking Thursday, Fun Art Friday, Situation Saturday, and Sunday Funday!