With Arc Mercer Day Programs temporarily halted, we know that keeping consumers engaged can be a challenge. Staying at home all day can be difficult for anyone—especially our consumers who are used to being able to go to Day Program, Recreational Activities, and Social Events every day!
Our Residential team has been hard at work keeping consumers engaged while in their homes. Many of our Day Program team members have become much appreciated additions to our Group Homes, as increased time in one location requires increased efforts to keep everyone active and focused with creative ideas, and fulfilled from day to day.
Our Residential team distributed extra board games, video games, craft supplies, outdoor activities, and more! Just about every activity imaginable has been provided to our Group Homes to help keep everyone entertained and occupied.
The ArcAde is also still open to consumers on the weekends! We have been taking smaller groups over at staggered times in order to make sure that everyone is social distancing as well as allowing our janitorial team to fully sanitize the space effectively.
Birthday Celebrations … At a Distance!
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly put a damper on our ability to celebrate all of life’s wonderful events and milestones. We didn’t let the need for social distancing stop us from reminding all of our consumers that we love and value them—especially on their birthdays!
Our team has been going out in massive “Birthday Caravans” to bring the parties right to our consumers’ front doors! With the help of some of our local fire departments, we have been able to really show up and show out.
Keeping Up With Our Consumers!
With COVID-19 forcing us to close our Day Program, we know our consumers miss us as much as we miss them. While we cannot be together physically, we can be together in spirit! Our fantastic Day Program team has been working hard to create online resources for our consumers who miss the day-to-day engagement.
From workout sessions to meditation, they have created a truly valuable resource for families to connect with the team that they love and participate in the activities that they miss while they’re safe at home!
Hero Highlight: Sharese Hobbs
The Arc Mercer has many heroes who have persevered under extraordinary circumstances during the COVID-19 health crisis. Sharese Hobbs, Senior Residential Manager is no exception! In April 2020, Sharese tested positive for COVID-19. At first, she stayed home to quarantine and get well. However, her time at home was short lived … one of her Group Homes needed her help.
As residents and staff began testing positive for COVID-19, The Arc Mercer began designating quarantine homes for positive consumers. Under CDC guidelines, any staff who tested positive for COVID-19 is permitted to care for individuals who have also tested positive for COVID-19. Sharese was quick to tell her supervisor that she believed that her symptoms were mild enough that she could return to work in her quarantined Group Home. She packed her bags and readied herself to stay in the Home for two weeks with the residents whom she considered to be a part of her family.
Sharese took exceptional care of the residents. She monitored symptoms, communicated any changes, cooked meals, engaged the consumers in activities, maintained contact with families, and took care of her staff! We are so incredibly thankful for her willingness to sacrifice her time and the comforts of her home to step in this way and go above and beyond the call of duty.
Her work ethic is no surprise to her supervisors. Director of Residential Services, Tami McKenzie-Henry and Residential Administrator, Thomas Lindley both describe Sharese as dedicated and caring. Tom Lindley said Sharese did not think twice when he called and asked if she would quarantine at the house for two weeks, saying “she is an advocate for the individuals she cares for and is always willing to help”. According to Tami, “Sharese is knowledgeable and consistently offers her assistance to her peers and co-workers … she is a team player.”
Sharese Hobbs has been with The Arc Mercer for over two years. She started her employment as a Shift Manager and was subsequently promoted to a Senior Manager position. Her hard work has paid off! The Arc Mercer is thankful for Sharese’s commitment. She is an example of what it means to go above and beyond … A TRUE HERO.
Day Program Reopening Plans
Reopening is on the top of The Arc Mercer’s priorities. We have already launched our own internal work group to discuss our plans for reopening. Our group has been creative in pursuing all possible scenarios that would lead us to a safe and successful reopening. Although we do not know when DDD will be ready to guide agencies in reopening, we are pleased to see that DDD has touched on many of the same topics that our team has proactively covered.
DDD has also created a work group to develop guidelines and planning for individuals, families, and agencies on reopening Day Programs in a group setting. This group is focused on the following areas:
• Pre-Opening - What needs to be done to prepare for screening, social distancing, and transportation?
• Soft Opening - How to operationalize the work done for pre-opening: the implementation of screening, protocols if someone has symptoms, how to manage positive test results, etc.
• Moving to Full Capacity - What are the milestones to determine when additional individuals can be served?
• Return of the Virus - What steps need to happen to ramp down attendance; what were the lessons learned from this closure and experience?
We have already initiated our Family/Health survey in order to effectively plan who is ready and who wants to return to our program. We will continue to adhere to the guidance set by DDD and will continue to work internally as a team to determine the safest possible path to reopening. As we make strides, we will always do our best to remain transparent and keep families in the loop. Please be aware that this is an ever-changing situation but we are fully prepared to do what is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of the community we serve.