Clausen House COVID-19 Newsletter 1: Full Report

May 18, 2020

Dear Clausen House Community,

COVID-19 has disrupted our day to day, much like it has affected the rest of the world. Despite all of the new challenges that this pandemic has brought us, Clausen House is proud to say that our work has not stopped!!!! As is our mission, we as staff, continue to make the needs, safety, and wants of our clients a priority. We have learned ways of supporting and keeping clients safe from an unknown, but very serious, virus.  We have adapted new remote service modalities for staying connected to our client community, as well as continuing to train clients and staff to the new post COVID-19 environments.  

In an effort to continue sharing the happenings and updates at Clausen House, we will be sending bi-weekly update newsletters to keep our community informed about how we are battling COVID-19. 

Here are some ways that our programs have modified traditional operations and services to clients changed to keep all safe:

 

Adult Education

Consistent with the California Shelter-in-Place mandate, Adult Education does not have anyone physically attending the program. We are giving daily insight to our clients and staff on what the best practices are to help stop the spread of the virus. Education and training are the two most important aspects we are focusing on.

Clausen House’s Adult Education Program is currently working on “virtual learning” for our clients by providing remote learning opportunities for clients and to participate in programming through Zoom, cell phones, Skype, Facetime, etc. We have conducted surveys with each of our clients to determine what type of IT equipment, resources, and online access they have available to use in an effort to ensure they are fully able to participate in programming within this COVID-19 environment.  As you know the process of continuing to provide programming remotely to clients is fluid one. We, as staff, are working with our clients with much accommodation as we can to ensure there is minimal interruption to their engagement with teachers.  

To learn more about the Adult Education Program, please contact Shawn Edwards, Program Director at (510) 208-4685 or at shawn@clausenhouse.org

 

Supported Employment

While we are already taking many measures to ensure that Clausen House is clean and safe for all, Clausen House’s Supported Employment department is also working with our client’s employers by monitoring their protocols, training and advocating with our client employees so that they understand the health and safety changes and protocols within their workplace.

SE currently has 13 client employees who are currently not employed due to employer closure for non-essential work, others either have a chronic illness or family member who is quarantined. We are currently working with them remotely by advocating and providing assistance with navigating COVID-19 and benefits that they may be entitled to. The SE Department is attending webinars and keeping abreast of the latest resources and benefits for our client employees. We are also providing weekly check-ins via phone or zoom.

Supported employment conducted a technology assessment with all SE clients the first week of April and will be implementing remote services and classes via ZOOM to those who are in job development and client employees who are currently sheltered in place and unemployed.

For more information about Clausen House’s Supported Employment Program, please contact Veronica Santana, Supported Employment Director, at (510) 208-4686 or vsantana@clausenhouse.org

 

Residential Services

Clients in all of our residential homes are constantly being trained on ways to keep themselves safe during this pandemic. Residential administrators are holding house meetings weekly with clients to go over the changing guidelines related to COVID-19. Here are updates from each of our residential homes: 

Belmont:

Belmont has enforced the shelter-in-place order given by the state. We are enforcing social distancing (6 feet apart), we have staggered meal times and are limiting the number of residents and staff per common room area. Clients are encouraged to stay at home and only leave the home for essential needs, such as going to work.

While we appreciate that all of our residents are extremely social beings at Belmont, we are working continuously to remind clients to practice social distancing within the home, as well as when they are out in the community for essential outings.  

For more information about Clausen House’s Belmont residence, please contact Stacia Olivier, Belmont Residential Administrator, at (510) 763-3598 or stacia@clausenhouse.org

Perkins:

We have taken crucial steps to protect our clients and staff. We are creating space inside our facility to maintain appropriate social distancing for clients while on site. In addition, we have implemented strict guidelines for hand washing, surface cleaning, and wearing masks and gloves when going out to work. We are taking critical measures to defend against contacting or spreading COVID-19. 

We are as dedicated as ever to making sure clients have everything they need to stay connected to their loved ones, and families.  The families will call or stop by to wave, and say hello.  They are very supportive at this difficult time. Our team remains here at work for Clausen House.  While it’s certainly not easy, we take comfort in knowing that we are all in this together and there will be better days ahead.  That’s our strength, and that’s what keeps us going.

For more information about Clausen House’s Perkins residence, please contact Barbara Lang, Perkins Residential Administrator, at (510) 839-0057 or perkins@clausenhouse.org

Vernon:

At our Vernon residential home, social distancing measures have been implemented and are ensured they are followed by both clients and staff. Like the rest of Clausen House’s clients and staff, education on how to stay safe during this pandemic is continuously taught and reinforced. 

Infographics are posted throughout the home and staff have gone through hours of in-person AND online training. In accordance with health directives, there is currently only one entrance for both staff and visitors to use. At this entrance/exit, everyone must sign in and out and have their temperatures checked using a contactless thermometer. This entrance also has a hand-washing station where the 20-second hand washing rule is enforced. There is no communal dining and staff have increased the number of hours devoted to cleaning and disinfecting the home. 

For more information about Clausen House’s Vernon residence, please contact Brandy Harper, Vernon Residential Administrator, at (510) 839-0500 ext. 302 or brandy@clausenhouse.org

Social Recreation

Social recreation is important for our clients now, more than ever. Inextricably connected to clients wellness and life balance is robust and enjoyable social recreation activities.  We have over the past 8 weeks provided stimulating  and innovative social stimulation for clients.  They have enjoyed the variety of activities.    

Please note all of our social recreation activities are in line with social distancing protocols in place and a focus on keeping all residents and staff safe. We stress to our clients the importance of keeping 6 feet apart, not touching your face, and always washing your hands. The biggest challenge this program faces is keeping client morale high during this time of uncertainty. Many of our clients miss going out into the community and social recreation is one way we bring joy to our clients. 

For more information about Clausen House’s Social Recreation, please contact Tamika Jenkins, Social Recreation Coordinator, at tamika@clausenhouse.org

 

Health Services

As the health services coordinator, it is my responsibility to advocate and ensure our clients get the medical care they may need and most certainly deserve during this COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Clausen Health Services Department along with residential program directors and other components of the leadership team have done a great deal of planning and implementing policies and procedures to ensure the safety of our staff and clients during these unprecedented times.

The Health Services and Maintenance teams have been working together to ensure that Clausen House keeps its clients and staff safe during this current pandemic by ensuring we at CH have sufficient supplies of PPE available. Together, these two departments collect, distribute needed PPE amongst our programs, as well as keep inventory of PPE. These items include: PPE (gloves, masks, gowns, etc.), paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, face shields and hand sanitizer. Because of the demand for these items, Clausen House is always in need of these and will gratefully accept donated items. Clausen House family members and individuals in our community have even donated homemade masks for our clients and staff.

WHAT WE NEED:

As an organization with 3 large residential group homes and other programs, we are very much in need of personal protective equipment to keep not only our clients we serve safe, but to also ensure that we can continue to keep our frontline staff safe as well in case we were to experience an outbreak during this COVID-19 pandemic. The items we are always in need of and are accepting donations for are as follows:

  • Surgical Mask
  • N95 Mask
  • Gloves
  • Gowns
  • Hand sanitizers
  • Face shields
  • Cloth Mask

Clausen House Client and Staff Testing:

Clausen House staff is at the frontlines of this pandemic, and we have put much effort into ensuring that our staff is knowledgeable and prepared. Staff is continuously trained on the newest health guidelines based on directives from the CDC, RCEB, DDS, and CCL. PPE kits that contain masks and gloves have been distributed to each staff member along with instructions on when and how to use them.

To ensure our staff receive the testing they need if they become symptomatic or have been exposed to COVID-19, we have enrolled Clausen House with The City of Oakland Essential Workers Testing Site exclusively for the workers on the frontline of this pandemic which include our direct care staff. Each staff member has been given formal instructions on how to access this testing service.

For more information about Clausen House’s Health Services, please contact Yaminah Holmes, Health Services Coordinator, at (510) 831-1550 or yaminah@clausenhouse.org

 

To our donors: 

Clausen House would like to sincerely thank all who have donated to us during this pandemic. Your generous donations have allowed us to continue to provide life-changing services to our clients, while also allowing us to keep clients and staff safe and healthy. As an organization, we cannot do it alone. We continue to need the support of individuals like yourself. Your donations help us secure PPE, keep our properties clean and continuously sterilized, and so much more. We’d like to thank you all from our hearts. Together, we can weather this storm and keep everyone safe. Please click this link to find out how you can help!