On Thursday, December 17, Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Commissioner Jane Ryder released a statement on the COVID-19 vaccine and holiday visitation. Please find her statement below.
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It is confusing to persons served to limit or restrict visitations from immediate family/guardians. Not only is it distressing for the individual to be restricted from loved ones; but is also could trigger a negative mental health a effect of depression and/or anxiety.
Even worse is allowing a daily COVID exposures from the coming and goings of staff persons by bringing COVID to DDS residential placements, which in fact has happened.
As a parent, I am discouraged to read anything that insinuates restricting visits of immediate family, or most significant loved ones from visitation is in the best interest of the individual. I have worked as a master’s level crisis clinician with families for almost twenty years. My primary role was preventing children/ young adults with various disabilities from being separated or isolated away from their caregivers.
I believe family involvement is critical for the individual’s well being and especially supporting a positive mental health status. Additionally, it is moreover helpful to everyone involved especially staff. If we think outside the box, we could identify a location for visits that could be wiped down by the visitors upon departing. COVID screenings before the visit and PPI during. We can all do our part for safety sake. But I encourage you to create a protocol for the individuals living in Residential homes that prevents isolation from loved ones. Feeling loved is critical for all persons.
Staff impose a level of risk at every shift, yet is important for physical care of individuals they serve. mental health wellness is also important, and having family visits should be considered equally important.
Thank you for taking a minute to look at all the needs of DDS clients and their families.
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