fbpx

Springbrook Updates

Last Update – 5/30/20 @ 12:00 PM

Building Use – Situation Saturday

Springbrook's priority is (and always has been) the health and safety of each person who is a member of our community - residents, students, employees, and families. This Situation Saturday, we are proud to share Springbrook's Rules and Procedures for using our many...

Thank You, Essential Staff – Situation Saturday

As COVID-19 has changed the way we interact with and support the more than 1,100 people who choose Springbrook to deliver services and supports, we want to take a moment to share a message of thanks. The dedication, compassion, and essential services delivered by our...

SPRINGBROOK STAFF TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

To remain COVID-19 free for as long as possible, Springbrook has put several guidelines in place. The following update to our current Staff Travel protocols applies to ALL staff members, not just those currently in a direct support position as part of a home unit. As...

KEEPING THE HOME UNIT SAFE

This message is a refresher of important organizational protocols currently in effect for the health and safety of all staff and residents. We stress that there have been zero COVID-19 cases associated with Springbrook. The Home Unit Rules outlined below are part of...

COVID-19 Free For Another Week – Situation Saturday

This Situation Saturday we are proud to share that we continue to have zero cases of COVID-19 associated with Springbrook (and we are dedicated to keeping it that way as long as possible). Putting early protocols into place, like closing our locations to visitors, and...

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.

Springbrook's Response

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:

Program Updates

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.

DAY HABILITATION

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 until further notice, 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 until further notice, 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 sciamem@springbrookny.org, Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.

COMMUNITY HOMES

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 until further notice, 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 maciasp@springbrookny.org,  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 maciasp@springbrookny.org,  Monday – Friday, 8 am – 4 pm.

Home Units
Springbrook has taken measures to reduce the amount of staff working within individual residential settings in groupings called “home units.” This also helps by having clinical, facilities, and other staff assigned to only one location and eliminating the possibility of spreading infection between residences.
 
Below are the guidelines for staff working within a home unit:
 
YOU ONLY WORK IN ONE HOME
 
  • All direct support employees are assigned to work in only one home.
 
COMPLETE THE HEALTH MONITORING CHECK-IN PROCEDURE BEFORE REPORTING TO WORK
 
  • All direct support professionals working in a home unit received detailed instructions via email to complete check-in procedures. Additionally, if you work an extended shift, temperature checks must be repeated every 12 hours.
 
KEEP YOUR MASK ON AT ALL TIMES
 
  • Keep your face mask on for entire work shift. Additional training has been provided for the use, cleaning, storage, and disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE)
 
WASH HANDS THOROUGHLY AND OFTEN
 
  • Sing “Happy Birthday” through twice; once for yourself, once for a person who you are supporting so they too can stay healthy and safe!
 
DO NOT LEAVE THE HOME UNIT UNTIL THE END OF YOUR SHIFT
 
  • Once you arrive at your work location, you must stay at your work location until THE END OF YOUR SHIFT. You may not leave for meal or break times.
 
NO TRIPS TO ANY STORE FOR ANY REASON
 
  • If you are missing an ingredient for a meal or a supply for a project, find a creative alternative, or switch your meal/activity until you can safely acquire what you are missing.
 
DELIVERY ORDERS ONLY – NO TRIPS TO PICK-UP TAKEOUT
 
  • This includes any fast food or drive-thru. Remember, no one is to leave during their shift.
 
USE SPRINGBROOK’S OUTDOOR SPACES
 
  • Do not go to any city, village, or state parks. Do not go for walks in the community (sidewalks, etc). You can take a drive with residents, but everyone must stay in the vehicle at all times (staff and residents). If you would like to enjoy some time outside, remain in the yard or schedule a time to use Springbrook’s Oneonta Campus or Main Campus outdoor areas for safe outdoor time.

    The Main Campus playground may only be used by one residence at a time and is reserved for Community Homes use on Sundays from 3 pm to 6 pm. Please bring disinfecting wipes when visiting the playground, as equipment must be disinfected before and after use by each house. Home unit employees have received instructions on reserving this space

 
CLEAN AND DISINFECT THE HOUSE THROUGHOUT THE DAY
 
  • Any surface that is near a high-traffic area, or touched by multiple staff and/or residents needs attention several times per shift.
 
DO NOT ALLOW ANY PERSON WHO IS NOT ASSIGNED TO THE HOME UNIT INTO THE HOUSE, FOR ANY REASON
 
  • This includes repair/service vendors, deliveries, even other Springbrook employees (like IT or Administrative staff). Facilities staff may enter the home ONLY to fix issues that could negatively affect the health or safety of residents in the home. If staff have a question about someone asking to enter the home, they are to contact the Administrator on Call (AOC).
 
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE WITHIN THE HOME
 
  • This is a new way of delivering support. It might seem counter-intuitive to stay away to show you care, but you could help save a life by doing just that.
 
EAT ALONE IN A PRIVATE ROOM
 
  • Communal (“family-style”) meals between staff and residents in a shared space in the home should not take place. For your scheduled meal times, find a private room in the home that is not used by residents. Do not eat in shared spaces, like dining/living/sitting rooms (even if no one else is in the room with you).
 
TAKE BREAKS ALONE
 
  • This sacrifice in the short-term will benefit all in the long-term.
Decreasing Community Exposure

The most effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19 is to reduce external exposure to program participants.

  • As mentioned above in “Home Units,” 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. 

Program Travel

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.
Staff Travel
Unnecessary travel at this time is irresponsible and increases the possibility of exposure to the employee, other staff members, and our residents.
 
  • All employees should follow all travel guidelines and warnings put forth by the CDC. There should be no international travel
  • Employees should only commute between their home and work location, or to access essential services within their home communities
  • Employees should avoid all unnecessary travel within our region, the state, or the US
  • Noted hotspots change daily and are found throughout the state and country. Staying as close to home as possible is the best way to avoid hotspots
 
Required Travel Reporting
 
  • Employees are required to report any planned travel to their supervisor at least two weeks in advance. This is a COVID-19-specific addition to Springbrook’s regular PTO policy.
    • Employees must report any planned travel, even if the travel occurs on regularly scheduled days off and does not require the use of PTO.
  • Employees are required to report any emergency/unscheduled travel outside of our region to their supervisor prior to returning to work after said travel.
  • After any travel outside of our region (planned or unplanned), the employee will be assessed by Springbrook prior to being approved for return to work.
    • Based on the assessment, the employee may not be permitted to return to work until completing a mandatory 14-day isolation. If isolation is required, it will be unpaid (the employee may use PTO if they have it)
      • After completing the 14-day isolation period, the employee will be assessed by Springbrook prior to being approved for return to work
    • The Springbrook assessment will include (but is not limited to) a review of the area(s) an employee traveled to, the length of time a place was visited, and the activities pursued while away. Springbrook will use the most up-to-date hotspot listings from the CDC and New York State Department of Health in this assessment.
Appointments

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.
Monitoring

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.

  1. 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
    • Temperature
    • Time Out
  2. 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
  3. Keep your assigned face mask on for entire work shift
    • Refer to instructions for use and storage distributed with face masks for more detailed guidance about both N95 and surgical face masks.

Note:

  • 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.
Event Cancellations

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

April 18 – “This Moment” Springbrook Gala 

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 clinical@springbrookny.org.

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.

*Source

Social Distancing

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

HOW?

  • 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

WHY?

  • 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.

Building Use Procedures

As our regions begin phased reopening, Springbrook’s priority is (and always has been) the health and safety of each person who is a member of our amazing community – residents, students, and employees.
 
For the safety of all, we have established a set of Rules and Procedures for using our many buildings. These rules apply to all Springbrook employees and are effective Monday, June 1. We appreciate your continued commitment and cooperation as we move together toward a new “normal.”
Important Reminders
  • All employees working remotely should continue to do so. These rules and procedures are NOT a mandate to return to the office
  • Unnecessary use of Springbrook’s facilities at this time increases the possibility of exposure to all employees
  • Only employees with job responsibilities that require the use of a Springbrook facility are to use Springbrook’s buildings at this time. A supervisor will tell you if you are required to go into a building to complete a job responsibility
  • ANY employee using any Springbrook facility must follow the rules outlined below:
Building Use Rules
  • Wear a face mask!
    • Masks must be worn in building parking lots
    • Masks must be worn in all entrances, exits, hallways, and corridors (any place where you may interact with another person)
    • Masks may be removed when an employee is alone in an office with the door closed
    • Masks must be worn within offices when another employee is present (even if someone just “pops in” for a moment)
  • Avoid unnecessary interaction with other employees when in a Springbrook building
  • All Conference Rooms and shared spaces (like break areas, lounges, etc.) are closed until further notice
  • Clean all equipment and surfaces
    • Office equipment like printing/scanning stations must be wiped with a sanitizing wipe before and after each use
    • Frequently touched surfaces like desktops, countertops, light switches and door knobs should be wiped upon entry to a space and when exiting
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • If possible, avoid using restrooms
    • All public restrooms in Springbrook buildings are being renovated to “touchless” spaces. Until those renovations are complete, please plan accordingly. Restrooms are spaces with an increased risk of exposure. If possible, avoid using public restrooms
Building Check-In Procedure
In the coming week, every Springbrook location will have a Health Check-in Station at the entry points listed below. Before entering a building, STOP at the check-in station, complete the Health Monitoring Check-in Procedure, log your entry, then proceed into the building. You must check-out at the same station when you leave the building.
 
Maintaining accurate logs of staff use of buildings is critical. Check-in logs will enable us to complete contact tracing, should the need arise.
Building Use Schedule
Use the following schedule for all Springbrook buildings:
  • Last Name A – M = Odd Days
  • Last Name N – Z = Even Days
Examples:
  • John Doe may go to his office for required duties on June 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 etc.
  • Jane Smith may go to her office for required duties on June 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 etc.
John and Jane are never at the office at the same time, even if they work in the same department.
Assigned Building Entry & Exits
Use the following assigned building entry/exit points for your department, or the department you are conducting business with:
 
The School at Springbrook
  • 1st Floor Entry: Staff who work on the 1st floor
  • 2nd Floor Entry: Staff who work on the 2nd floor
  • 3rd Floor Entry: Staff who work on the 3rd floor
The White Building
  • Main Entrance: All Staff
Family Engagement Center
  • Right Side (staff) Entry: FEC Staff
  • Main Entrance: All Others
The Oneonta Campus
  • Kids Unlimited Preschool Entrance: Kids Unlimited, Quality Assurance
  • Main Entrance: IT, Training, Community Homes, Community Services
  • Back Entrance, Program Side: Day Hab Staff, Dietary, Behavioral, Therapy
The Wellness Clinic (Main Street)
  • Main Entrance: All Staff
Norwich Office
  • Main Entrance: All Staff
Norwich Day Habilitation
  • Main Entrance: All Staff (use back parking lot building entrance)
Binghamton Office
  • Main Entrance: All Staff
Ithaca Office
  • Main Entrance: All Staff

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

For Everyone
  • 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.

Trusted Resources

Springbrook has been in contact with or follows advice from the state and federal agencies below. The Centers for Disease Control continues to be the leading voice for a national response. The first section has selected resources from their COVID-19 coverage, followed by several other resources we have found helpful during this time.

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!

OakElmSteven

Oak and Elm- Fun Art Friday

This #FunArtFriday, we have an additional Community Homes Coloring Book page for the Oak and Elm Community Home. This beautiful house in the center of Oneonta is home to Betty, Brian, David, Lilian, Powell, and Steven; a fun group who have chosen Springbrook as a...
Zoom Meeting with Jessica Elliot's Class 6/3/2020

Learning from Home – Thinking Thursday

On this Thinking Thursday we wanted to show you how many of the teachers, therapists, and students of The School at Springbrook are continuing to teach and learn while instruction is being delivered in the homes. The remote classroom presents different challenges to...
Whole Wellness Diagram

Taking Care of Your WHOLE self – Wellness Wednesday

This Wellness Wednesday, we want to acknowledge that wellness is more than physical exercise and activities. While exercise is important, your mind, soul, and surroundings play a tremendous role in your overall health. When unforeseen circumstance makes us feel...
David A - 2017

Spirit Week – Sunday Funday

This Sunday Funday, we wanted to let you know about School Spirit Week; five days of celebration for each of The School at Springbrook houses. Even if you don't live or work on campus, you can join in on the fun too; make sure to tag us (@springbrookny) and we will...
Campus Aerial

Building Use – Situation Saturday

Springbrook's priority is (and always has been) the health and safety of each person who is a member of our community - residents, students, employees, and families. This Situation Saturday, we are proud to share Springbrook's Rules and Procedures for using our many...
Lance

Nichols – Fun Art Friday

This #FunArtFriday, we have an additional Community Homes Coloring Book page for the Nichols House. We added a few photo portraits of some of the residents at Nichols. Say hello to Lance, Kim, and Jeremy, three of the many people who make Nichols their home! Click on...
Michael on the phone - 2019

Staying In Touch – Thinking Thursday

On this Thinking Thursday we thought we would remind you to keep in touch with your friends and family during these frustrating times of social distancing and isolation. When was the last time you called your best friend? Why not take a few minutes, sit down, and make...
Title Card for SBS videos with Jon Philby

Springbrook Strong Stretching – Wellness Wednesday

Stretching is a crucial component of an exercise regimen. Stretching your muscles results in increased muscle control, a better range of motion, and flexibility. Join us this Wellness Wednesday as Physical Education teacher and Co-Coordinator for the Springbrook...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This