Although the country is in lockdown, our work continues in the holistic care of intellectually disabled adults and to provide them with a safe environment in which they can live, work and thrive.
In order to keep everyone safe and healthy, a host of new measures are pro-actively being put in place for their protection.
Changes are not only applicable during the lockdown, but are crucial for the foreseeable future and our strategy is to create a “new norm” at the centre.
This will be a new environment and a new rhythm of daily living for our residents and day workers – who finds stability in their daily routine.
- Strict controls at entrance
- No visitors allowed
- Only necessary staff allowed
- Any deliveries per appointment only, and strict protocols to be followed. Extra pressure is placed on resources such as the kitchen, as cleaning of goods require additional time.
- Returning residents per appointment only, and strict protocols to be followed
- Residents may not leave the property
- Staff transport is provided during the lockdown-period
- Public transport is not used currently
- Limited number of passengers allowed in vehicle, as per government guidelines
- Wearing of facemasks are compulsory and driver also to wear gloves
- Vehicles interiors are cleaned after every trip
- Protocols are followed by medically trained personnel:
- Measurement of body temperature
- Questions to be answered such as family health status, possible exposure to virus
- Hands to be sanitized on entry, clothing/protective to be clean as per guidelines
- Wearing of facemasks are compulsory
- Staff are screened daily, night staff twice daily.
- Residents are screened daily
- Work areas and living areas are cleaned and sanitized
- Hand sanitizing stations available at each work and living area
- Cleaning of floors and bathrooms – according to prescribed schedule and guidelines
Training of staff
- Training done with regards to thorough handwashing and sanitizing techniques
- Knowledge and understanding of the Covid-19 virus
- Counseling of staff around concerns and fear regarding the pandemic
Training of residents
- Residents are trained on thorough handwashing and sanitizing techniques as well as increased personal hygiene
- Social distancing and new ways of greeting
- Training on the wearing of masks
- Training needs to be done positively and creatively per individual and their level of functioning, and repeated sessions required.
- Additional carers are appointed for supervision and to ensure new guidelines are followed.
- Various changes are put into place for the purposes of social distancing:
- Chairs and couches that may not be used, have been marked
- Decreased number of chairs in dining room to limit number of people per table
- Work areas have been divided into smaller groups and to work different shifts
Kitchen and dining room
- Restructuring of the kitchen and dining routines to make provision for social distancing
- Fewer people allowed in dining room at a time, delivering up to 3 sittings per mealtime.
- Residents are served plated meals instead of qeueing
- Dining room is sanitized after each sitting
- Kitchen is locked inbetween mealtimes to preserve the hygienic state
- The kitchen team has been reduced to a smaller team that can understand and uphold a higher level of hygiene
- Some of the groups can eat in their own areas, such as club Phoenix
- A new norm/routine/daily rhythm is being created
- Therapeutic intervention is done as needed to relieve tensions, until such time that the new rhythms is adopted as the norm
- Touch deprivation can cause new behaviour problems, therefore physical hand- and feet caring is amended
- From May, a new eco-therapy program is to be implemented, such as horticultural therapy, animal-assisted therapy, physical exercise (nature walks) in a natural environment, and conservation activities
- Therapists are available daily to help residents to deal with change
- Face masks and protective clothing are washed and ironed daily, which places additional workload on the laundry team
- All trips into town have been cancelled
- With the help of the occupational therapist, residents can draw up shopping lists for staff to buy items on their behalf
- Persons doing shopping have to follow protocols upon returning to the centre
- All shopping to be sanitized
- Supply of food parcels to day workers
- More than ever, a healthy lifestyle and diet is important
- The tuck shop has implemented a ‘robot’ system to encourage healthy choices, and also sell non-consumables and educational items
- For the purposes of mental health, residents need to remain active. Residents can join the daily afternoon walk around the premises.
- Exercise groups are smaller, especially since voluteers are not available during this time
- Cleaning and sterilising of equipment after each use
- During lockdown, as work areas are closed, residents are allocated a meaningful task according their abilities and level of functioning such as cleaning, maintenance, or making items.
- Two instructors are busy making protective clothing and masks, with the help of two residents
- New work areas are being created to make provision for smaller groups
- Depending on the type of work, some tasks can be done outside work areas
In case of illness
- Person is isolated in their room, even for a cold or stomach bug
- In case of more serious illness, they will be transferred to an isolation unit and their living quarters sanitized
- Special arrangements were done during the lockdown to create an additional isolation unit. Planned administrative spaces will be used for an isolation unit during the crisis period. Horizon House currently has 3 isolation units with en-suite bathrooms.
- Protective clothing to be used as soon as staff revert back to use of public transport.
- The following protocols are to be followed:
- If using own transport and come directly from home (no stops):
- Shower at home (isolated) and wear clean clothing to work.
- If using public transport
- Bring an extra set of clean/protective clothing, and change upon arrival at Horizon House
- Dirty clothing items to be put in bags to be washed.
- In case person leaves the premises to go to town, and return from town, regardless of using public or personal transport:
- Shower upon arrival at Horizon House, and change into clean/protective clothing. Either was hair or wear a clean headdress.
- Dirty clothing items to be put in bags to be washed.
- Residents returning to Horizon House from their families by appointment only
- All goods and suitcases to be sanitized upon arrival and residents escourted to their living quarters
- Training and systematic adoption of new norm to be done per individual
- With the focus on smaller work areas, where residents work either a morning or afternoon shift, those not working will be engaged in meaningful therapeutic activities such as life skills coaching, creativity and exercise groups.
- During Easter, communion and special service was held for residents, inkeeping with the necessary hygiene and social distancing procedures.
- All enquiries are handled with understanding during this time
- Extra effort is made by staff to keep residents in touch with their loved one
- Families can send Care packages. All parces are sterilized upon arrival
- The care of the centre and surrounds must continue
- As this work is largely outside, social distancing is easy to maintain
Recycling / In-kind donations
- Deliveries, in-kind donations of goods, recycling and volunteering is suspended until further notice
- Risk management poses a great challenge, and we are in touch with news and trends, and take action in a sustainable manner which fits in with long-term planning.
These measures have a financial impact on the operations at the centre and we have created a special Corona-Virus Fund to support these changes.
Every year, our fundraising efforts contribute a great deal to our running expenses. However, the economic circumstances have put our fundraising projects in jeopardy, and even more than ever, we need your support.