Happy 2021! During the holiday season, day services at the Elmore Center and other locations continued to be very limited, due to increases in our local data that began just prior to Thanksgiving.
JCDS has now resumed our day service transition planning for 2021 and we are encouraged by the recent news that the COVID-19 vaccine has been made available to direct support professionals. We have also requested access to the vaccine for anyone served by JCDS (TCM, Day, or Res), regardless of whether they are currently attending service. While the vaccine is not going to be required for employees or individuals in service, everyone is highly encouraged to speak with their health care professional to determine if the benefits of receiving the vaccine outweigh the potential risks. As more people chose to receive the vaccine, we anticipate that the overall risks associated with returning to regular activities will decrease. JCDS will continue to require all current Infection Control protocols associated with COVID-19. These include wearing masks, physical distancing, use of barriers at work stations, and enhanced cleaning. We will also continue weekly testing.
At this point, very few people have had the opportunity to resume their regular Day Services. As we continue our planning process for 2021, it would be very helpful to know who is interested in returning to the Elmore Center or other locations within JCDS Day Services. Although we still don’t know when we may be able to extend the opportunity for everyone to return to services, there is more optimism that this will be an option at some point this year. As we have communicated previously, there have been some changes to programming provided at the Elmore Center and minimum wage is now paid to those engaged with the Work Enrichment program. If you were previously doing paid work at the Elmore Center and are still interested in this option, you will have the opportunity to do a trial period to determine if this program is still a good fit for you. If it is not, we have a Life Enrichment program that includes volunteer opportunities and a wide variety of educational and social options. Due to the pandemic, activities within our greater community have been very limited, but these will resume as the level of risk begins to decrease.
For those who have already had transition meetings, you will receive an individual communication regarding a specific start date. For others who are interested in returning, transition meetings will be scheduled, and teams will meet to discuss individual risk factors. A tool called the COVID-19 Risk/Benefit Discussion Guide is now being used to assist teams with assessing the risks and benefits associated with resuming day services. The medical portion of this tool will be completed by the JCDS nursing department and the other sections will be completed by the person and their support team.
JCDS continues to work with our partners at the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services and Managed Care Organizations on what services are allowable and then with our clinical staff and Johnson County Health and Environment on how we should safely be providing supports. Information about local data can be found on the JoCo COVID-19 dashboard.
If you have not already resumed your regular Day Services, please indicate if this is something that you wish to do. Please feel free to reach out to me directly at Beth Johnson with your response to this question. If you would like to visit over the phone, we can schedule a time to discuss more details about our current programming and what we anticipate in the future. Regular updates will be posted on the JCDS blog.