The safety and well-being of your loved one is our highest priority. We are blessed to include them as part of our Bethesda family. As a team, we are working through the coronavirus / COVID-19 situation, proactively taking steps to stay ahead of the curve, help stop the spread of the virus, and keep people safe. We recognize the fear anxiety that this situation is causing across the country and beyond. We feel it too.
Parents and guardians understandably have many questions, and we have answers. At several town hall sessions with parents and guardians, we heard questions that we have answered below. We will continue to update this FAQ as the situation changes and more questions are asked – so check back regularly.
Can I visit my loved one?
We recognize the value that visitors bring for the well-being of people we support. But, given the current situation, visitors are not allowed at this time. This includes parents, guardians, other family or friends. We’re doing this for everyone’s health and safety. There are ways you can interact with your loved one, including phone calls and video visits via Zoom (see more below).
Who can enter homes?
Essential staff and health care providers are allowed to be present in our homes. We have processes in place to ensure minimal contact with people supported, staff and facilities.
How long will these changes be in effect?
At this time, we simply do not know. We continue to monitor the situation and will adjust as needed.
Are day programs open?
For health and safety reasons, we have canceled these programs at this time.
Are people supported going on outings?
No outings into the community are occurring at this time. Again, this is for the safety of your loved one and our staff.
How long will day programs and outings be canceled?
We do not know – we continue to stay on top of the situation to make the right call for your loved one and our staff.
Are you monitoring people you support?
We have processes in place to identify anyone who is symptomatic and immediately address the situation. This starts with taking temperatures and monitoring general health. If a person we support is symptomatic, they will be tested, and if positive, will be in self-quarantine just like anyone else. Please rest assured, we will continue to care for your loved one.
How can I be sure staff members are not sick?
We are closely monitoring staff to ensure that they are not coming to work sick. All staff are instructed to stay home if they are not feeling well. If staff are symptomatic, we have processes in place including taking their temperature and getting them tested. Staff who test positive will be sent home to self-quarantine.
What happens if the staff gets sick? Who will care for my loved one?
We have detailed contingency plans in place for this exact situation. Our plans including bringing in new hires and transporting existing staff from other locations to help. Your loved one will absolutely be taken care of.
I want to do something to help your staff and people you support. What can I do?
That is so generous! As a Christian organization, the first thing we ask for is your prayers. Please pray for the people we support, for your local Bethesda team, our organization and for all who are adversely affected by this situation. Financial donations are also welcome to offset the increased costs we are experiencing. Lastly, you can check with your local home staff to see if there are any games, crafts or activities that could be provided to benefit people we support.
Can I bring baked goods or other food items?
No – please do NOT bring food items at this time. While we appreciate the gesture very much, there are too many risks associated with food. Thank you for understanding.
Can I bring crafts, activities or games?
Yes, these items are welcome and can help staff and people supported enjoy their days. Please contact your local home. We will need to follow safety procedures when accepting these items.
Can I take my loved one home or to an outing?
Please do NOT do this. People we support will not be able to return until our no-visit policy has been removed. We completely understand the joy in taking your loved one home for a while, and the hardship of not being able to do so, but the risk is simply too great at this point.
How can I stay in touch with my loved one?
There are a few options to make sure you keep that important connection. Phone calls or Facetime are great ways to stay in touch. We have now begun facilitating video chats using an online meeting tool (Zoom) that we would be happy to coordinate for you. Please contact your staff for details.
How are you keeping my loved one active/engaged?
Our staff members are engaging people we support in a variety of activities intended to keep them physically, spiritually and intellectually active. Each individual has a calendar of events prepared for them. This is especially important now that day programs or other activities have temporarily closed. Any items you might drop off to enhance their activities will be put to good use.
Are your staff still being paid? Is anyone losing their job?
Our staff will continue to be paid. Unlike many businesses that have laid off workers during these difficult circumstances, our need for staff has not decreased – simply put, we need everyone. Additionally, as people who have been displaced look for work, Bethesda may be a good career option. Please consider sharing that information. We encourage people with an interest in working for us to visit our website (BethesdaLC.org) and click on “Careers.”
How can I stay informed about what’s happening?
The COVID-19 situation changes daily, and there is a lot of information we wish to share. We aim to be a source of truth that you can trust. Options include: