With the health and safety of the individuals we serve, and those who serve them, as a top priority, Glenwood is responding to mitigate exposure in several ways. So far, things are going well.
Glenwood is a complex organization with more than 20 programs touching 18,000 lives annually so planning and being flexible to change are part of what we do. While no one ever expected anything like COVID-19, the team quickly went into action to decrease opportunities for exposure. We made early preparations, ordering supplies and planning how to incorporate social distancing.
“I’m really proud of our staff,” said President & CEO Ken Oliver. “Across the organization, everyone has come together to do what’s best for those we serve.”
Many of our programs remain in place with adjustments for health and safety. These programs have been temporarily suspended:
- Allan Cott School for children with autism is utilizing distance learning
- Lakeview School for boys age 6-13 with severe emotional and behavioral issues is utilizing distance learning
- Sullivan Center, a day program for adults with autism
- Journey Academy, where adults with autism learn about jobs
Full-time residential care remains in place for more than 120 residents. A few went home to quarantine with their families, and the rest are remaining with Glenwood under self-quarantine with our staff. Longer hours are now required from staff to work in the homes. We’ve deployed staff from some of the suspended programs to work in the homes.
Many people with autism thrive on consistency, so the changes have been challenging for them. The quarantine means no community outings, shopping trips and no community activities and no visitors from the outside. Staff are encouraging telephone, Skype and other social media contact for our individuals with family and friends. Staff working in one home cannot work in another home, and if someone becomes ill, we have an emergency home ready to house them away from others.
The therapists and teachers, who aren’t usually in the homes, are cross training, and working with direct support professionals and managers to make the quarantine the best experience it can be for residents. That’s where hula hoops, technology, games, balls and outdoor walks come in very handy. We also have a beautiful campus that offers lots of opportunity for outdoor activities for residents on-campus. Staff are managing well.
This has also been hard for residents’ families who typically visit regularly with their loved ones at Glenwood. There are other families who are suddenly working from home with a child with special needs. Staff are communicating with families and making themselves available by phone. The Children’s Center also made therapy packets to send home with parents to work on during the break.
From a financial standpoint, there are extra costs for supplies and staffing homes full-time. There will likely be a loss of revenue from suspending appointments, and we’re looking to move the golf tournament to the fall. “We all hope to be back to normal soon, but in case we aren’t, we’re looking for ways to meet the needs of the families we serve. They need us, and we will be here for them as long as it takes, whatever it takes,” said Oliver.