As an Independent Living Center, BRIDGES is a critical and trusted community resource for people with disabilities. We will continue to help you plan for and deal with these challenging times. BRIDGES’ top priority is the safety and well-being of the people we serve, particularly those who use CDPA and other community-based services. We want to hear from you about how we can help ensure those who rely on the CDPA Program have the resources they need. Please consider the following guidance as it pertains to CDPA:
Avoid busy public places wherever possible to limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Wherever possible, opt for telehealth appointments instead of going to a doctor’s office. Try to have food and medicine delivered. Consumers and PAs should respect public health rules and socially distance themselves, taking all possible precautions including while travelling to and from work.
Self-Care at Home
If you feel isolated or lonely, know that other people in your community feel the same way. Be sure to take a break from the constant stream of news. Keeping informed is important, but so is managing anxiety and stress. If possible, open a window or step outside for some fresh air.
BRIDGES strongly recommends that all Consumers and designated representatives discuss emergency backup planning with Personal Assistants and informal support networks. Consumers should communicate with their PAs and BRIDGES to develop a plan in the event that the Consumer and/or a PA(s) show symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms include fever, a dry cough, sneezing (sometimes), sore throat, and difficulty breathing.
If you are in immediate danger because a PA has taken ill and/or not shown up, you should immediately call 911 and remain calm. Do not travel to a hospital, emergency room or clinic without an appointment. Many do not accept walk-ins and you could be turned away.
Considerations when developing a plan for COVID-19:
- Who will provide backup? Begin searching and training potential backup workers.
- If a Consumer becomes ill, what steps will prevent transmitting the virus to PAs?
- Contact your managed care plan or Social Services to request additional hours for increased housekeeping services to ensure adequate cleaning/disinfection in the home.
- What happens if only one PA is available for an extended period of time? How will this impact overtime, as well as the PA and Consumer’s well-being?
- Is there a way for Consumers to hire additional PAs if all of his or her PAs fall ill?
- What is the plan in the event that a PA is ill and cannot come to work?
- What is the plan if a Consumer needs urgent assistance while the PA is not working?
- Has the Consumer developed a plan with their doctor or medical provider to obtain respiratory devices or other medical equipment if necessary?
- If access in and out of the Consumer’s or PA’s town, neighborhood, or community becomes limited or stops, how can they ensure that their PA can reach them?
- Alternatively, what if the PA is with the Consumer and cannot reach their family?
BRIDGES will continue to share guidance and updates. We are here to serve as a resource for you. Please stay safe, and let’s do all we can to help each other.