Day Services Update: Vaccinations

Friday - Mar. 19, 2021

I am very happy to be able to share a positive update as we approach the next phase of our Day Service transition process. As many of you are aware, the COVID-19 vaccine is now available for all JCDS staff, and last week JCDS hosted a vaccine clinic. During this clinic,  851 vaccines were administered, which includes the majority of individuals receiving residential services from JCDS and many who receive day services. This week, another clinic is being hosted at Life Centers of Kansas and the vaccine is being offered to the same target group, which includes everyone receiving services in the CDDO area, family members/caregivers age 65 and over, and employees of community service providers. Earlier this year, all employees at JCDS who have direct contact with individuals in service were offered the vaccine and currently about 50% of our direct support professionals have been vaccinated and we expect this number of increase over time. In addition, our local COVID data has dramatically improved during the first quarter of 2021 and we are now much more optimistic about our ability to begin the transition process with additional individuals. JCDS will continue to require all current Infection Control protocols associated with COVID-19. These protocols include wearing masks, physical distancing, use of barriers at workstations, weekly testing, and enhanced cleaning.

For those of you who have not already returned to Day Services, thank you for your feedback in response to the last update. If you have already shared your preference to return, your case manager will be contacting you during the 2nd quarter of 2021 to schedule a transition meeting. While it is not feasible to transition everyone back to services at the same time, individual circumstances will be taken into consideration when planning return dates. JCDS can provide full or part-time day services and it will be important to share your preference during transition meetings.

Please note that we approach each person’s transition in a thoughtful manner and utilize person centered planning to determine the best day service option. As we have communicated previously, there have been some changes to the programming provided at the Elmore Center and minimum wage is now paid to those engaged with the Work Enrichment program. If you were previously doing paid work at the Elmore Center and are still interested in this option, you will have the opportunity to participate in an assessment period to determine if this program is still a good fit for you. If Work Enrichment is not a good fit, we have a Life Enrichment program that includes volunteer opportunities and a wide variety of educational and social options. This program is currently exploring additional activities to offer that match the interests of those in service and all ideas and suggestions are welcome. Due to the pandemic, activities within our greater community have been very limited. However, as we approach the spring and summer season, we expect more opportunities to open up for people to engage in community activities. For individuals who receive group living services from JCDS, there may be additional options for day services that could include some activities that are carried out in the home and surrounding community, as well as part-time services at the Elmore Center.

JCDS continues to work with our partners at the Kansas Department of Aging and Disability Services and Managed Care Organizations on what services are allowable and then with our clinical staff and Johnson County Health and Environment on how we should safely be providing supports. Information about local data can be found on the JoCo COVID-19 dashboard.

I also want to take this opportunity to let you know that I am retiring and my last day at JCDS will be March 19, 2021. It has been such a pleasure and privilege to work with all of you over the years! Although the pandemic has been very challenging, the future is looking much brighter and I have complete confidence in our talented and dedicated Team Leaders and Direct Support Professionals, who will continue to be highly involved with providing leadership and delivering services as we move forward with the transition process. I am also excited to share that Angeline Anderson has accepted the Director of Day and Employment Services position and this is her first week. Angeline has a great deal of experience working in the IDD field and will be a wonderful leader for the program! I know that she is eager to get to know everyone and will be reaching out soon.

Beth Johnson

Day Services Update: Vaccinations